A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday, June 28, 2020 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.
ANNOUNCER: "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" starts right now.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Alarming acceleration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NIAID DIRECTOR: We're facing a serious problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: COVID rising across the country, more U.S. cases in the last week than in any week since the pandemic began.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): We're not in a second wave. We're still in the first wave.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm absolutely terrified that we're going to overwhelm the health care system.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: States now reversing course on reopening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We find ourselves careening toward a catastrophic situation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: The White House downplays the threat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're in a much stronger place.
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STEPHANOPOULOS: Our guests this morning, America's top elected Democrat, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Arkansas' Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKA BRZEZINSKI, CO-HOST, "MORNING JOE": Joe Biden is leading President Trump by 14 points.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN: There's a huge wow factor to looking at these polls.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: President Trump's poll numbers tanking after months of crisis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're doing, I think, very well. We just started.
JOSEPH BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's like a child who can't believe this has happened to him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Can Trump come back, surprise everyone again, or is Biden poised to put this race away?
Insight and analysis from FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver and our powerhouse roundtable.
ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it's "This Week."
Here now, chief anchor George Stephanopoulos.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning, and welcome to "This Week."
More than five months ago, the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the United States. But, as we come on the air this morning, the pandemic's grip on our country appears to be as strong as ever, almost 43,000 new cases reported Saturday.
Four states hit new daily highs, five who set new records for hospitalizations, more than 40 states marking higher weekly averages than last week, with new records set nearly every day.
Overnight, the number of cases worldwide topped 10 million, more than one out of four right here in the United States.
We all had hoped the worst had passed. And, thankfully, the mortality rate of the virus is coming down. But the notion that America could reopen quickly without consequence has now evaporated.
Hard-hit states like Florida and Texas are starting to reverse their reopening plans, several more putting plans on hold, as Dr. Anthony Fauci warns of outbreaks across the South and West that could spread across the country.
That came at Friday's press briefing from the White House, the first one in almost two months. Notably, the president did not attend. But after canceling a weekend trip to his country club in New Jersey, he offered this positive take:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We're making a lot of progress with the whole situation that came in from a place called China, as you probably know, you probably see and. But we have a little work to do, and we will get it done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: And we are joined this morning by the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
Madam Speaker, welcome to "This Week."
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Good morning.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's start out with this COVID crisis.
It's pretty clear we are failing in this country to stop the spread. How do we fix it?
PELOSI: We can fix it by passing the HEROES Act, which we haven't.
A major pillar of it is to open our economy by testing, testing, testing, tracing, treating, isolating, wearing masks, washing your hands. There is a way to do it, and instead of what the administration did, deny, delay, death.
We have to -- it's time for this administration to take this seriously. As Dr. Fauci said, we have a serious problem ahead. Take this seriously.
We are 4 percent of the world's population. We are 25 percent of the cases and the deaths, 25 percent. We have the worst record of any country in the world. And the president says we're making progress or whatever.
So, this is -- this is life and death. And we do have a plan to, again, reverse this trend, as well as to kill off this virus. We don't have a vaccine, and we don't have a cure. God willing and science-enabling, we will sometime soon.
But until we do, we have the tools to halt...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Is it...
PELOSI: ... the growth of this.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Is it time to mandate the wearing of masks across the country?
PELOSI: Oh, definitely long overdue for that.
And my understanding, that the Centers for Disease Control has recommended the use of masks, but not to demand -- required it, because they don't want to offend the president.
And the president should be example. You know, real men wear masks. Be an example to the country and wear the mask, not only to pro -- it's not about protecting yourself. It's about protecting others and their families.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The -- of course, we're also dealing with the economic fallout right now.
You have said that another economic package is necessary, but yet you have not engaged in direct negotiations with the Treasury secretary. Why not?
PELOSI: Well, when we have a negotiation, it's at the end of the agreement. The committees of jurisdiction have their discussions, and when they reach an impasse it rises to the four corners of leadership, and when that reaches an impasse we negotiate with the administration.
But I have a number of the Republicans calling me and saying in the next bill, can we have this? In the next bill can we have that. They know we have to have a bill. They know we have to -- the chairman of the fed has said unless we do significant we're going to have a worse recession. He has said state and local governments provide jobs and services, I recommend that to the congress. Even Secretary Mnuchin knows there has to be legislation. They'll be ready.
They say they wanted a pause, well, again, rent -- paying the rent doesn't take a pause, putting food on the table doesn't take a pause, having no pause doesn't take a pause, they have hurt our economy.
But we have a solution -- let me just tell you this, it's three pillars: one is, honor our heroes, that's why it's named that, and in there we have resources for state and local governments so they can keep our heroes on the job -- health care providers, first responders, transportation, sanitation, teachers, teachers, teachers.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to turn...
PELOSI: ...keep them on the job.
And you have to know this, all the money that is in there, and you go to speaker.gov/heroesact, and look at where you live or have lived and the rest, and see how many resources go into those communities in order to cover the outlays for the Coronavirus expenses, a; or b, the loss of revenue from those places.
And remember this, all of that money that's out there, and it is very significant, is half of what the Republicans put on to the national debt, half of what they spent, give tax cut, 83 percent of the benefits going to the top 1 percent, and they complain about it. But they'll come around. They'll come around.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to turn to that rather startling report in The New York Times that appeared yesterday, we're going to show it on the screen right now, that Russia secretly offered Afghan militants bounties to kill U.S. troops. It reports that "American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan, including targeting American troops. The intelligence finding was briefed to President Trump, and the White House National Security Council the problem at an interagency meeting in late March. Officials developed a menu of potential options along with an escalating series of sanctions, but the White House has yet to authorize any step."
Now the Director of National Intelligence put out a statement late last night denying that the president had been briefed. The president has said that as well. But not denying the intelligence.
You're a member of that so-called Gang of Eight that gets intelligence, were you aware of those reports?
PELOSI: No. And we have called for a report to the congress on this.
This is as bad as it gets, and yet the president will not confront the Russians on this score, denies being briefed. Whether he is or not, his administration knows and our allies -- some of our allies who work with us in Afghanistan had been briefed and accept this report.
Just as I have said to the president with him all roads lead to Putin. He will not -- I don't know what the Russians have on the president, politically, personally, financially, or whatever it is, but he he wants to ignore, he wants to bring them back to the G8 despite the annexation of Crimea and invasion of Ukraine, despite what they yielded to him in Syria, despite his intervention into our election which is well documented by our intelligence community, and despite now possibly this allegation, which we should have been briefed on...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, that's what I want to ask you about. Do you believe that the president hasn't been briefed on this? And secondly, how would you explain The New York Times saying it was actually in the president's daily brief, perhaps he didn't read it. How would you explain if the president weren't briefed on this?
PELOSI: Because the president wants to ignore any allegation against Russia. As I've said to him in that meeting when I'm pointing at him in a blue suit, with you, Mr. President, all roads lead to Putin.
Putin -- Russia has never gotten over the humiliation they suffered in Afghanistan, and now they're taking it out on us, our troops. This is totally outrageous. You would think that the minute the president heard of it he would want to know more instead of denying that he knew anything.
Now, if in fact -- we'll find out he has briefed and it was in his daily brief -- but if it were not, what does that say about the concern that those who briefed the president have about not going anywhere near the Russia issue with this president?
This is appalling. This is beyond amid -- well, the list is a long one in terms of his ignoring of what Russia has done. You see what he was -- it is a gift to Russian to diminish our leadership in NATO, diminish our troops in Germany, all the gifts to Putin.
Something is very wrong here. But this must have an answer.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS HOST: You’ve raised that several times now. You said you don’t know what the Russians have on --
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- on President Trump.
But do you believe they have something on him?
PELOSI: Well, how would you -- else would you explain his refusal to even -- to ignore again and again the intelligence that puts right at the Russian doorstep the involvement into our elections, for example? Now, he's saying this is fake news. Why would he say that?
Why wouldn't he say, let's look into it and sees what this? Giving the money to Taliban, a bounty on the lives of our troops in Afghanistan. How do you answer to the families of those who -- family members who are serving there?
And he's engaged in peace negotiations with the Taliban and he's kissing up to Putin in every way, saying they should be in the G-7, even though he annexed Crimea and caused death and destruction in Ukraine -- so totally irresponsible. Something is wrong with this picture.
But putting that aside for the moment, let's just dwell on this. We hear also that the administration is considering diplomatic response to this or sanctions to this -- well, they either know about it or they don't know about it. The American people need to know what that is.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Before -- before we go, I want to ask you a little bit about the 2020 presidential campaign. You've seen all these polls this week showing Vice President Biden opening up the lead -- former Vice President Biden opening up a lead over President Trump. President Obama’s warned Democrats not to get complacent.
What is the biggest threat to Joe Biden's chance right now?
PELOSI: Well, I do believe that we have to put one day in front of another. I take nothing for granted. A hundred twenty -- I think 128 days, no wasted time. No underutilized resources and no regrets the day after the election.
And again, we saw what overconfidence did in 2016 and the harm that exacted on the country. This election has everything at stake. Any time we have said this is the most crucial election of our time, we thought it was true, but it just keeps getting more so.
So, I do believe that it's going to be -- as long as we protect the vote. So if you ask what is -- what stands in the way? Not in the enthusiasm of the American people. Not the excellence of our candidate for president of United States.
We're so proud of Joe Biden. He will be a great president. And all of the other candidates -- I’m so proud of our House candidates. Hopefully, we also win the Senate, which is very possible.
PELOSI: -- protecting the vote from the voter suppression that the Republicans know they can't win on the national, so they have to engage in voter suppression and stand -- you look at their playbook and you'll see what they're afraid of and that is the votes of the American people.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes (ph).
PELOSI: We’ll on the ground, we'll mobilize, we'll get out the vote, and we will have a victorious election come November -- putting one good day in front of another.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Madam Speaker, thanks for your time this morning.
PELOSI: My pleasure. Thank you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson is up next.
Plus, our powerhouse roundtable.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): We are announcing today a joint travel advisory. People coming in from states that have a high infection rate must quarantine for 14 days. It's only for the simple reason that we worked very hard to get the viral transmission rate down. We don't want to see it go up.
GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R-AR): Of course I understand where Governor Cuomo is coming from, but whenever you're looking at growing our economy, trying to restore our economy, this is not particularly helpful to that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC CHIEF ANCHOR: New York's Andrew Cuomo going head to head with Arkansas' Asa Hutchinson after Cuomo announced a quarantine for travelers from new coronavirus hotspots across the sunbelt, including Arkansas.
And Governor Hutchinson joins us this morning.
Governor, thank you for joining us this morning.
So was Governor Cuomo justified or not?
GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R-AR): Well, I think he's understandable as to where he's coming from. They've had such a huge challenge there in New York City. We sent our nurses up there to help them during that time of crisis. I understand where they're coming from. And, in fact, we had had the same order in Arkansas that travelers from New York had to quarantine. We've lifted all of those now because this virus has become like a fog going across the United States, sometimes slowly, sometimes rapidly.
So we're just going to do better to get our cases down in Arkansas, but ultimately we can't be putting restrictions on each other across the country because we do have to do two things -- both manage the virus and manage the growth of our economy. And ultimately, whenever you see growth of cases from Texas to California, I don't think New York wants to isolate themselves from -- from every region of commerce that might have a spike in cases.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Both Texas and California have put their reopening plans on pause, at least some of them, as well as the state of Florida.
Your cases have jumped about 25 percent in the last week. Will you be putting any pauses in place on your reopening?
HUTCHINSON: Well, we haven't announced additional we're going to do. The -- we can go into phase three. We're not going to do that, we with are on pause on that, until we make sure that we get a handle on our current cases. And so, we are in effect on pause in that way.
But we are continuing to move our economy, and that's important to be able to go into the future, both handling the virus and living life. And that’s what we’re trying to do.
But this is a very, very serious challenge we have right now. And just let me emphasized, we doubled the amount of our testing nationally. We got to double it again.
That is probably the most important thing we can do and as I’m concerned as a -- as a state, while we’ve increased our testing dramatically in Arkansas, with the demand for testing from California and some of the Texas and high-population states, how is our commercial providers going to keep up with that?
I really think we need to look at a greater use of the Defense Production Act so that we can make sure the supply keeps up with the demand that we know is going to continue growing.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you think the national effort has to be stepped up?
HUTCHINSON: You know, the president's done very, very good job of utilizing the Defense Production Act when it comes to managing the production of ventilators, making sure that we have that capacity. We need to continue to use that in the areas of the supplies for testing, the demand is only going to increase.
And if we are going to have school, which we plan on doing next year, if we're going to have other activities that we like in society, it all depends on the ability to test and know what the radar shows is where the virus is, so we can go in and isolate it, we can trace it down.
That's how you live life, that's how you manage the economy, but at the same time, minimize the risk of the virus.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It's now mandatory to wear face masks in the city of Little Rock. The mayor passed that executive order. Why not extend that to the whole state?
HUTCHINSON: Well, we're encouraging mask wearing. I’ve set the example for that. That’s a very important part of the equation. First, mask wearing, as well as social distancing. So, we urge that every point that we can.
We're not going to pass a mandate that is unenforceable. So, as we educate the population, we'll continue that effort because it is an important part of the equation.
I’ve got a good relationship with the mayors. We're all trying to accomplish the same thing, which is encourage the use of masks that helps protect others and is a very unselfish act to do.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Should the president and the vice president be doing more to set an example on the wearing of masks?
HUTCHINSON: Well, I saw the vice president as he went into the briefing the other day, he had a mask, as others did. I think that's a good example.
It is important that there's a consistent national message to take this seriously, that we are going to wear masks, that we’re going to set that example, that consistent national message supplements what we're trying to do in the state and is important to what we’re -- you can have two messages at the same time. Your message is, let’s grow our economy, but let’s also have the message of social distancing, protecting our self and others from the virus.
STEPHANOPOULOS: On another subject, Mississippi is set to remove from the Confederate symbol from the state flag. Governor Tate Reeves, your colleague, your colleague, has said he would sign the bill. Is it time for Confederate monuments in state of Arkansas to come down?
HUTCHINSON: Well, we’ve already moved one in Bentonville, which is my hometown. There was a Confederate statue in the square. There was an agreement reached which took sometime to do to move that statue to an area in a cemetery, away from the public square. That's the right process to go through.
It’s not the right process to destroy by acts of violence or vandalism. It is right to have the debate and to take action. And so, yes, I think there's more that we need to look at in Arkansas, and I thought Mississippi, they did it in a thoughtful way. They set the process up and I applaud them for their debate and the decision-making that they did.
That will continue across the country. And it is the right thing to do.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But your personal opinion is that they should come down?
HUTCHINSON: Well, you have to -- which one are you talking about?
Whenever you're looking at those in municipalities -- we have one in Hot Springs. That's a local decision. Whenever you look at the ones that -- as relates to the state, we do have one that's on our state capitol grounds. That's the decision of the General Assembly.
What do I think about it? I think it's time to look for other places that we can know that history and remind ourselves of the lessons of that history.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, sir, I wanted to talk about the 2020 race coming up.
President Trump -- you have seen the national polls. He won Arkansas by 27 points last time. I saw one poll this week that showed him only two points up right now.
If it's a close race in Arkansas, that's a sign of real trouble for President Trump. What should he do to fix it?
HUTCHINSON: Well, he's going to do fine in Arkansas. He will carry Arkansas.
And you just got to look at President Trump and the fact that he's been down in the polls. Nobody thought he was going to win the last election. He surged in the final days. He won the -- some of the key battleground states.
And, so, people who are writing his obituaries, a little bit early on that.
And I think the key is the economy. And the key is, of course, managing this virus. And, you know, whatever he was doing, he was engaged in it, doing his national briefings. People were responding to that, even though he made some missteps in it.
But he's got to be engaged both in moving the economy forward, but also in making sure that we're going the right direction and doing all we can to support the states in terms of the virus.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Hutchinson, thanks for your time this morning.
HUTCHINSON: Thank you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Nate Silver is up next with his take on the president's polls. Has Trump hit the tipping point?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, 44TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Whatever it is that we've done so far to help Joe Biden get elected, we have to do more. We can't be complacent or smart or sense that somehow it's so obvious that this president hasn't done a good job, because, look, he won once.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: A warning to Democrats from President Obama in the wake of weeks of falling poll numbers for President Trump, capped by a striking New York Times poll this week that had Biden up by 14 points nationwide, leading in every one of the top six battlegrounds.
So how deep is the hole? Can Trump come from behind the way he did four years ago? We asked FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver for his analysis.
NATE SILVER, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT FOUNDER: Nothing makes me happier than talking about uncertainty. And to be clear, we're still a long way from the election and either candidate can win.
But I have to level with you, Trump is starting to get deeper into underdog territory. There are really three things that make his path harder than it was four years ago.
First, Trump's numbers are on a downward slide in several key, swing states. In the FiveThirtyEight averages, he's now down 11 points in Michigan, 10 in Wisconsin, 8 in Pennsylvania and 7 in Florida.
Second, there are far fewer undecided voters today than in 2016. In fact, Joe Biden is already above 50 percent in national polls. It's pretty rare for that to happen so early. The last president to do it was Ronald Reagan in 1984.
And in some recent swing states polls, more than half of voters already say they would not even consider voting to re-elect Trump.
Third, there's what we call the fundamentals. In 2016, Hillary Clinton was trying to win a third straight term for Democrats amid a mediocre economy. Not so easy, actually. But this time it's Trump who's on the defensive.
Fifty-six percent of voters are unhappy with Trump's handling of Covid as cases continue to rise in many parts of the country. Voters also haven't liked his reaction to nationwide protests, 63 percent disapprove of his handling of race relations. And we've seen some of the worst economic data since the Great Depression.
So what does Trump have going for him? Well, there's still a fair bit of time between now and November and there can and probably will be new, unpredictable news stories, some of which might benefit Trump. But I buy that he should be rather worried. This is a deeper hole than he faced at any point in 2016.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS CHIEF ANCHOR: Thanks to Nate for that.
The roundtable's up next.
We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX HOST: What are your top prior items for a second term?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, one of the things that will be really great -- you know the word "experience" is still good. I always say talent is more important than experience. I've always said that. but the word experience is a very important word. It's a very important meaning. I never did this before. I never slept over in Washington. But I didn't know very many people in Washington. It wasn't my thing. I was from Manhattan, from New York. Now I know everybody. And I have great people in the administration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: President Trump on Thursday night with Sean Hannity.
Let's talk about this now with our roundtable. We're joined by Chris Christie, former governor of New Jersey, CEO of Democracy for America, Yvette Simpson, Rahm Emanuel, former White House chief of staff and mayor of Chicago, and Republican strategist Sara Fagen.
And, Chris, let me begin with you. You saw the president get that question on his second term, priorities. Didn't specify anything when he was talking to Sean Hannity right here.
You're in regular contact with the White House. Does the president believe he's losing right now and what does he need to do about it?
CHRIS CHRISTIE, FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR AND ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, listen, he is losing. And if he doesn't change course, both in terms of the substance of what he's discussing and the way that he approaches the American people, then he will lose. There's no question that while these national polls are less significant in terms of the raw numbers, the trend is obvious. The trend is moving towards Joe Biden, when Joe Biden hasn't said a word. Joe Biden's hiding in the basement and not saying anything. No -- no discredit to the vice president, if you're winning without doing anything, why do anything?
The president has to change course here both in terms of the substance and answering that question much better than he did with Sean Hannity in terms of what he wants to do in a second term. And, secondly, he needs to approach the American people in a different way than he's been approaching him recently.
So I said this last week, George, you know, there's no doubt the president's an underdog. He's more of an underdog today than he was a week ago. Now, there's 128 days left as was said by Nate Silver, and there's still a lot time to go here. And President Dukakis as I said last week was up over Vice President Bush back in 1988 at this time. So, there’s still a lot of time to go but there has to be some fundamental changes that needs to be made by the president and his team.
If they don’t do it, they’re in big trouble.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Some real candor there from Chris Christie.
Rahm Emanuel, let me ask you the question I asked Nancy Pelosi. What is the greatest threat to Joe Biden's campaign right now?
RAHM EMANUEL, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, if you look at the piece that I would focus on right now both to accentuate is Joe Biden's got seniors, the first Democrat to win -- and he’s winning 65 and older voters since Al Gore. And if everybody remembers, even though they made fun of this interview, back in Davos, President Trump acknowledged that he was going to look at second term at Social Security and Medicare.
And given the opportunity that the Democrats have right now with seniors, which is basically a 20-year one-time historic moment, I would start drilling down on that senior vote.
I come from the great Jewish tradition of paranoia, and I think the weakest link when you look at everybody that’s gravitating towards Democrats for -- towards Joe Biden, seniors are the most vulnerable group because of what they think about the president, what they think about him on economic terms, et cetera. And I would take right now, if I was Joe Biden, and go after that senior vote to solidify.
You have a window of opportunity. They’re open to listening. And I would remind them that in a second term in Davos, the president himself said he's going to cut Social Security and Medicare.
And his own budget two years ago was the largest cut in Medicare. I said on this show, and that’s exactly where I would go right now if I was Joe Biden.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, there's advice for Joe Biden from Rahm Emanuel.
Sara Fagen, how about some advice to President Trump and Republicans from you.
Rahm Emanuel talked about the seniors right there. Where he's really falling short right now, it looks to be a huge threat, suburban white women who’ve just abandoned the president.
SARA FAGEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I agree with what Governor Christie said. But I would add a third thing, which I think complements for Republicans, what we need to do to keep seniors and suburban women as you pointed out, which is it’s not only draw -- to lead on coronavirus and race relations and all the things that the president needs to step forward on, but also to remind them what they're getting with Joe Biden,
Joe Biden is not the leader of the Democratic Party right now, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are. He put Congressman Ocasio-Cortez in charge of his climate policy.
These are not things seniors want to see in America. They may be unhappy with Donald Trump at the moment, but they don't want a Green New Deal. They don't want Medicare for all. They don't want free college tuition for everybody.
They understand because of their wisdom and their experience that the country can't afford this. The Democrats have put no plausible plan to pay for any of these things.
And so, I think the president needs to do three things -- he needs to reassure the country on coronavirus. He needs to put forward a positive agenda for the country. And he needs to remind voters, suburban women and seniors and other important voting blocs to his constituency just what electing Joe Biden means for the country.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yvette, you and Democracy for America fought pretty hard for progressives like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
YVETTE SIMPSON, DEMOCRACY FOR AMERICA CEO: Yes. I mean, I think the big thing to remember is that most Americans actually support these policies. And so, seniors, they don’t -- they care about their grandchildren. They want to leave the planet better.
They want to make sure that their kids good. They have Medicare. They understand what it's like to have a secure health care system. They want that for everyone.
But I think the big picture, George, this enthusiasm gap that we still have against the president, right, he has twice as much as energy as Joe Biden does when you think about people who are excited about running -- voting for him.
And so, we need to mobilize and excite our base. That translates into voter mobilization and the type of resilience we're going to need to overcome the voter suppression and maybe foreign interference that we're going to see in this election.
And so, I would say he does need to come out of the basement. We need to see him energized. We need to see have a concrete plan, even if it's digital, for how we're going to get voters to show up. And I think if we do that, I think we win.
It's too early -- June is too early to call this race. And you know that President Trump is like Teflon. Everything that comes on him, it bounces right off and it doesn’t seem to stick at all.
So, we need to be not planning for -- not expecting this implosion by Donald Trump because I don’t think we’re going to see it. We need to energize our base and we need to make sure they show up.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Chris, Yvette says she doesn't expect to see an implosion by Trump. I was struck by something I saw in “Politico” this morning from Sam Nunberg, who’s a longtime political adviser to President Trump. He says that President Trump is facing a possibly historic defeat.
And he closed on a quote, say: If Trump's numbers against Biden erode to 35 percent percentage points over the next two weeks, he's going to be facing realistically a 400-plus electoral vote loss and the president would need to strongly reconsider whether he wants to continue to run as the Republican presidential nominee."
You expect something like that from James Carville, but Sam Nunberg?
CHRISTIE: George, I don't spend any time -- any of my time, because it would be a complete waste of time, listening to Sam Nunberg. He has no idea what he's talking about.
And I don't even know why reporters call and talk to him, except to get inflammatory, ridiculous quotes like that.
The best news I have heard this morning is what Yvette just said. Listen, for Republicans, we need to get Joe Biden out there and campaigning. When he does, he will make mistakes. He will misspeak.
And Yvette just put it out there, but in a very nice way. The liberal wing, the progressive wing of the Democratic Party is very, very suspicious of Joe Biden. They didn't support him during the primary season. They didn't want him as the nominee.
And that's why Joe Biden is just trying to sit on his lead right now. Now, if I were him, I wouldn't do anything different. But it's the Republicans' job to put forward, as Sara said, a forward-looking agenda for the next four years, so that Biden will be forced to come out and tell people what his agenda is.
When he does, it will divide the Democratic Party. Rahm will want certain things to be said. Yvette will want very different things to be said. And if they can't come together, that's going to be a big problem for Joe Biden.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Rahm -- and, Rahm, does the vice president have to worry about this enthusiasm gap?
EMANUEL: Look, I mean, I -- you have to worry about a lot of things.
I don't -- I think, right now, he's -- I would just say it this way. Three weeks ago, everybody was saying, oh, Joe Biden's got to do this. Joe Biden has got to do that.
No. This is a race of Trump vs. Trump. And Trump is losing that race. And Biden has a good strategy, to force Trump into the center, and not make it a binary choice, until it has to be. He will lay out an agenda, a prospective agenda, that will actually take consideration both restoring the public health of the country, restoring the health of the economy, and restoring the well-being and health of the civil society that are all under threat.
The fact is, the American people right now have made a judgment both on the political and moral leadership of this president, and he is failing on all grades.
And my guarantee is, which is on this Russian story, it will continue to show that the president of the United States is failing his most important job as commander in chief. If he got briefed on the fact that the Russians are targeting American soldiers, and then, this week, we would have had the G7 meeting where he invited Putin, it will be a dereliction of duty that will require congressional hearings into what exactly happened.
I know how those briefings on intel go. And the fact is, Americans have unnecessarily lost their lives here at home because we weren't prepared for this virus and still are not prepared for reopening, and now we have a report that, in fact, the president of the United States was given a briefing of what the Russians were trying to do to our troops.
And that way we had consequences is took no action, but invited them to a meeting of the G7 that would happen this week in Washington. That is a major crisis of leadership. And the whole world is watching.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Sara Fagen, we saw the president deny that he was briefed. Also, the director of national intelligence denied that he was briefed, did not deny the intelligence.
But, in some ways, the president is damned and the White House is damned if they do, damned if they don't here. It's also a problem for the president if the intelligence community had this intelligence, and he wasn't briefed.
FAGEN: Yes, it is a real problem if that's, in fact, the truth, but we don't know what the truth is.
So, I think the president should call for figuring that out. If the intelligence is true, and if Russia is doing this or has done this, the United States needs a very strong response, sanctions, other measures, disinvite him from the -- disinvite Putin from the G7, absolutely.
This -- that is a disgrace by Russia. And the United States should have a very strong response.
But I will point out that I -- you know, there's such a desire among the left to tie Donald Trump to Russia. It's almost -- even for credible conservatives, it's almost hard to believe any of these reports, because it seems to be almost a North Star for the -- for the party.
And so we don't know what's true. And we don't know that this is true.
EMANUEL: Sure. George...
STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Yvette...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, go ahead, and then I want to bring in Yvette.
EMANUEL: Remember, Afghanistan operation is a NATO-led operation. That means all our allies know of this intelligence.
So, they also watched what the president did. That is -- you remember, Merkel pulled out of this meeting that was supposed to happen this week. It's not going to happen, based on the virus.
But all our allies, Germany, Great Britain, others who have troops in Afghanistan, they know about this intelligence. And they have watched the president's actions as it relates to Russia.
That's why there are consequences both here at home, as a commander in chief, and there's consequences to America's standing around the world. If it is true, it is a dereliction of duty that goes to the highest level of the responsibility of a president of the United States.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yvette, we heard Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi double down on the suggestion that the Russians have something on President Trump.
SIMPSON: Look, the Trump-Putin love affair is well documented, so I just want to disagree with Sara, this is not some hoax that the left has come up with. We know that he was more than willing to allow Putin to interfere with our democracy, now it looks like he's also willing to allow him to infiltrate and damage our military.
FAGEN: There's no evidence to suggest that...
SIMPSON: And so I think the Bolton interview, which I know was done...
CHRISTIE: That's ridiculous.
FAGEN: Yeah, there's no evidence...
SIMPSON: ...from an insider -- I'm sorry, go ahead, Sara.
FAGEN: Well, I was just going to say, look, again, this is the north star of the Democratic Party is to tie Donald Trump to Russia when there's been several investigations, none of which have been able to tie any criminal conspiracy. Yes, the Russians were absolutely trying to interfere with our election in 2016, and Donald Trump signed sanctions into law because of that.
So, we should also point that out. So, this obsession with tying Trump to Russia, you know, really is becoming -- is ridiculous.
And so, look, there's reasons to criticize Donald Trump. I just don't think this one of them.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Chris, how should he be handling this news stories coming out of The New York Times?
CHRISTIE: Well, what should matter is the truth of what happened. The president saying he was not briefed about it. If he wasn't he better find out why he wasn't briefed about it if the report is true.
And let's remember something, The New York Times breathlessly, George, reported about Russia collusion, in fact I think even got a Pulitzer over it, and as it turns out Bob Mueller then says there was no Russian collusion...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, he said there was no criminal conspiracy. He said there were more than 100 contacts. He said it didn't rise to the level of a criminal conspiracy.
CHRISTIE: Yeah, George, 100 contacts. Yeah, but George, listen, again, that's the Democratic talking point, OK...
STEPHANOPOULOS: No, that's a fact. I mean, that's what he had in the report, it's not a talking point. It's a fact. It's a fact that he documented more than a hundred contacts.
CHRISTIE: No, and he also concluded that none of those things rose to the level of any kind of collusion or conspiracy between the campaign. But I'll bet you this, I'll bet you there were lots of contacts contacts between the Clinton campaign and Russians during that campaign as well, but we didn't have a two year investigation into the Clinton campaign.
So the fact is there has been no proof of that kind of relationship. So now what the president needs to do is not rise to the bait that Rahm and Yvette and others are putting up there and just say to his intelligence community, is this intelligence correct? If it is, why wasn't I told about it. And then if it is correct, to take very aggressive steps against Putin and the Russians for doing anything like that, aggressive sanctions.
EMANUEL: Yeah, first of all, let me say this, when we were in the White House President Obama ordered every other Friday a deep dive into an issue. The fact is, this has already -- senior members of the foreign policy team met on this. This should led to a deep dive on any issue -- on one particular issue. They know that the president may not read the briefing, whether he was briefed on it or in the briefing are two separate issues.
I think I'll speak for Sara and Chris, this is of such a level, given the targeting and killing of American men and women in uniform overseas carrying out our mission, that there should be congressional -- not just White House meetings, but congressional briefings, and bet you Sara and Chris would say, it's worthy of that level.
And I don't think when it comes to killing our men and women, it's just about sanctions, it is also the fact that the whole world watches, and they knew that we knew this, he was invited to the G7 that would happened this week in the United States. It says a statement about this president and his priorities.
Remember, Ronald Reagan said, weakness invites chaos, and that is what's happened here. China is taking advantage...
CHRISTIE: I'm not least bit surprised.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Go ahead, Chris.
EMANUEL: This is the intelligence community, this is not a left-wing conspiracy.
CHRISTIE: That Rahm wants to believe that -- listen...
STEPHANOPOULOS: One at a time.
CHRISTIE: I'm not surprised -- Rahm, I'm not surprised that you want to believe what's written in The New York Times lock, stock, and barrel, OK. I'm not surprised that you want to do that.
What I'd like to do is to see people in administration look into this and decide -- you're saying categorically the president knew, well the president is saying he didn't know...
EMANUEL: That's not what I said.
CHRISTIE: ...so let's find out what the real truth is.
Yes, you did. You said the president knew and other people knew he knew, that's what you said. You don't know that to be a fact, and you're putting it out there. It's find for you to put it out there along with the New York Times, but I think we've seen from the Mueller investigation and The New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting how valid they really are in many stories.
FAGEN: You know, I think Rahm, we agree, we agree with you. If this is true, absolutely, very, very tough sanctions, don't include Russia in the G7. We agree with that.
But we don't know if it's true.
EMANUEL: Sara, it gets back to what George said...
SIMPSON: What's the punishment for President Trump if he knew this, though.
EMANUEL: No, but George said it right, if he knew it and didn't do anything, there's -- there's going to be consequences. And if he didn't know about it and didn't read his briefing, there are consequences. Damned if you did and damned if you don't. There should be hearings on it. And also understand the consequences of what this means. And the president's losing right now because they're seeing what's happening overseas, we're lose -- our men and women are being targeting and we're losing people here at home seaside about what -- stateside, what's happening also because we are not prepared for this virus. He is failing the leadership test of being president of the United States.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS CHIEF ANCHOR: Before we go, I want to get to one last subject. And, Yvette, let me bring you in on this.
Pretty remarkable the state of Mississippi is going to be taking the confederate symbol off of their flag. We heard Governor Hutchinson earlier suggesting that maybe more monuments should come down in the state of Arkansas as well.
We really are seeing a sea change here.
SIMPSON: We are. I mean it's remarkable. You're seeing corporations respond by changing the names and -- and the figureheads on their packaging. You're seeing states take down monuments. You're seeing flags change. And I think that's absolutely necessary in this time. You know, I've -- we've been through this before, but this feels different. But the big -- the -- the -- the -- the big nature of this moment and the reaction that it requires shows that we all need to take a beat and say, how can we make sure this moment doesn't pass us without making fundamental change in the way that we relate one to another, that corporations relate to the people that they serve, and that the police relate to the people that they are supposed to protect and serve. And so this is a big deal.
I actually saw that Faith Hill, who is a country singer, was leading the fight to change the flag in Mississippi. When you see, you know, celebrities who have brands reaching out, the thing that happened with Nascar, you know, this is a big moment. And I don't want us to miss it. But I also don't want us to be just about performance. We need to see real, fundamental change in our country in the way that people relate race -- you know, race to race and a way particularly that police interact with the -- with the public, particularly black Americans.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Chris Christie, Princeton University, in your state, the name Woodrow Wilson, President Wilson, coming off their public policy school. A remarkable moment there as well.
CHRISTIE: It is, George. And -- and my son, our oldest son, is an alum of Princeton University, graduated there in 2016.
EMANUEL: (INAUDIBLE) good for him (ph).
CHRISTIE: And I asked him this morning what he thought about it. And he said he's spoken to a number of his friends who are minority alums of Princeton who are overjoyed this morning. And, you know what, he said to me, and he's right, that if, in fact, that's the way they feel about it, he's happy for them and he's happy for the university that he calls his alma mater.
I think it's the right move.
And I'll tell you this on the -- on the statues, the confederate statues, these -- these men were traitors. They were traitors that tried to divide this country in order to keep slavery in place. And so I never understood confederate statues. I'm glad confederate statues are going down. And I'm glad that the Republican governor of -- of Mississippi is helping to lead the way, that Tate Reeves is helping to lead the way to change their flag. It's long overdue, George, and I think that this is one of the uplifting moments that's coming out of such tragedy as George Floyd's killing. This is the right thing for America to be doing and Princeton did the right thing this week.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm afraid that is all we have time for today.
Thank you all. Thank you all for joining us.
That is all for us. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out "WORLD NEWS TONIGHT" and I'll see you tomorrow on "GMA."