'This Week' Transcript 6-16-24: Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, Sen. Tim Scott and Bob Woodward & Carl Bernstein

ByABC News
June 16, 2024, 9:47 AM

A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday, June 16, 2024 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.





DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm with them 1,000 percent. They're with me 1,000 percent.

KARL: Republicans give Trump a hero's welcome in his first visit to Capitol Hill since his supporters attacked the Capitol building on January 6th.

REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA): This is a unified effort by the party. We're feeling good.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I support him. He's been – earned the nomination.

KARL: Even his former GOP critics are getting in line, just weeks after Trump became a convicted felon.

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): All they care about is bending the knee to Donald Trump.

KARL: This morning, the latest on the 2024 campaign with Republican Senator and potential Trump running mate Tim Scott, and the powerhouse roundtable with our new campaign forecast.

Signs of relief?

JEROME POWELL, CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL RESERVE: Inflation has eased substantially from a peak of 7 percent to 2.7 percent.

KARL: New data shows inflation cooling, but are voters feeling any better?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a long way to go. We have literally the strongest economy in the world right now.

KARL: Our exclusive interview with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

And –

BOB WOODWARD, “ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN CO-AUTHOR: But we’d written these stories that no one believed.

CARL BERNSTEIN, “ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN CO-AUTHOR: We didn't think the truth about Watergate was going to ever come out.

KARL: Fifty years after publishing their iconic book "All the President's Men," Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein return to the scene of the crime to reflect on the reporting that toppled a president.


ANNOUNCER: From ABC News it’s THIS WEEK. Here now, Jonathan Karl.

KARL: Good morning. Welcome to THIS WEEK.

One of the most influential voices in the Trump movement, the man who served as the former president's chief strategist in the White House, set the stage for Donald Trump at an event this weekend in Michigan by declaring that if Democrats win in November, if they steal it, Steve Bannon said, the republic ends. To the rousing applause of Trump supporters, Bannon concluded his speech with these words, "victory or death." That's the way some of Trump's most fervent supporters see the election, as one that could only be lost if it's stolen from them, and as a battle that just cannot be lost.

While that message resonates with the true believers, Donald Trump brought a decidedly different tone when he made a triumphant return to Capitol Hill this week. His first since before the January 6th attack more than three years ago. Republican leaders once condemned Trump for his behavior on that day and the days before, but now they are applauding him, embracing him. Even Mitch McConnell. Take a look at this awkward handshake. That's the first time the two men interacted since December 15, 2020. That's the day McConnell congratulated Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on winning an election that Donald Trump will never acknowledge he lost.

For Trump's part, he came to Capitol Hill without talk of retribution and revenge that has defined his 2024 campaign. Instead, he talked of unity. He even endorsed a Senate candidate, Maryland’s Larry Hogan, who has condemned and, in fact, still condemns Trump's behavior. The message from all of them, Trump, and the other Republicans on the ballot this year, is together we will win. Well, almost all of them. Larry Hogan responded to the unexpected endorsement by saying that he is still not going to vote for Donald Trump.

KARL: And there were several potential Trump running mates cheering him on as he returned to Capitol Hill. One of them joins me now, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina.

Senator Scott, thank you very much for being with us this morning.

I want to start with the Supreme Court's decision on Friday.

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): Good morning.

KARL: Good morning.

The Supreme Court's decision on Friday, overturning an order – an executive action by President Trump to ban bump stocks after they were used in what was and still remains the deadliest mass shooting in American history. Were you satisfied with that? Have any concerns about that decision?

SCOTT: You know, Jon, it's simply this. We – we trust and believe and respect the decision of the Supreme Court. What we need to focus on, Jon, is the violence that we're seeing across this nation. Under Joe Biden we've seen the greatest increase in violent crime in my lifetime. And so focusing on ways for us to reduce that crime means getting four more years of Donald Trump. Under Donald Trump we actually respected law enforcement.

Under Joe Biden, we've seen the movement to defund the police, leaving communities like the one I grew up in devastated and ravaged by a wave of violent crime that we have not seen literally in five decades.

KARL: Actually, senator as I – as you probably know, the latest stats on violent crime and on the murder rate, they're actually down this past year. But let me get back to my question about the Supreme Court's decision.

SCOTT: Well, let's – let’s – let’s take – let's take a look at those – those – let – let's take a look at those crime rates.

We've seen over 4,000 shootings just in the city of Chicago. We've seen a spike in violent crime. It's nice to see something plateau. But the fact of the matter is simple, under Joe Biden neighborhoods like the ones I grew up in have never been ravaged.

KARL: OK. But – but – but – but back to –

SCOTT: When mothers, like the one that raised me, are trapped in their houses from the time the sun goes down until it comes up again.

KARL: So, to my question though on – on bump stocks, would you now favor a Congress acting to ban bump stocks? You had said after that shooting in Las Vegas that if – if the vote came up it would sail through Congress. So, are you in favor of that ban right now?

SCOTT: Well, I'm strongly in support of the Second Amendment. But what we're going to do in the party, and President Trump said it on Thursday, we’re going to focus –

KARL: I asked about the ban on bump stocks, not the Second Amendment.

SCOTT: We're going to focus – we’re going to focus on the priorities of the American people. And what the priorities of the American people are today is to focus on closing our southern border. Under Donald Trump we had a precipitous drop in illegal border crossings. Under Donald Trump – under Joe Biden, we've seen an explosion, 10 million illegal immigrants have invaded our country, leading to migrant crime that we just saw just yesterday.


SCOTT: The mother of five killed by an illegal immigrant. So, what the focus will be is on the safety of the American people. That starts with focusing on our southern border.

KARL: OK, so you're not going to answer that question.

Let me get to Donald Trump's visit to Capitol Hill. I want to ask you about a few of the policies he spoke out in the meeting with the House Republicans and with the Senate Republicans. During the meeting with House Republicans, he declared that he, quote, “loves tariffs.”

I'm just wondering, do you – I know you’ve been a free trader for as long as I've known you. Do you love tariffs now?

SCOTT: Well, listen, one of the things that we have to do is recognize that we should focus on free trade, but free trade requires a fair competition. When you have China literally lying, cheating and stealing our intellectual property, yes, tariffs create headwinds that actually levels the playing field. But more importantly, what we need is a president who understands how to fix our broken economy today. And Donald Trump led us to the strongest economy we've seen in the last 50 years.

KARL: So, let me –

SCOTT: It started with the tax cuts and jobs act that lowered rates and made us more globally competitive. But, frankly –

KARL: So, let – let me ask you about – let me ask you –

SCOTT: China absolutely steals our intellectual property, and that's devastating. We have to have (INAUDIBLE).

KARL: So – so – so – so let me ask you about one of the specific policy ideas he floated while he was in Washington. He floated the idea of raising tariffs high enough to be able to eliminate all of the income that comes in from income taxes. Is that – I mean by some calculations that's a 70 percent across the board tax on everything imported in the country. Some other estimates it’s nearly 100 percent. Would you favor a policy like that, replacing the income tax with a massive new tariffs on everything coming into the country?

SCOTT: Well, Jon, I wasn't in that House meeting.

KARL: Yes.

SCOTT: I was in the Senate meeting. But what I can tell you he spoke about during his time with the Senate is actually exempting taxation on tips. The working class coalition that is now supporting Donald Trump is supporting Donald Trump because they know looking back over his four years they were better off under Donald Trump. Their wages went up. Their taxes went down. They had more spending power.

Under Joe Biden, we've seen the exact opposite. Their wages, frankly, have gone down. Costs have gone up. And they have less spending power. And so what we talked about during the meeting with President Trump is the importance of focusing on the actual working class. Exempting tips is a great idea, followed by more tax cuts that actually generates more revenue to the Treasury and more money in the pockets of the average family.

KARL: OK. All right.

SCOTT: Jon, when we did this in 2017, we saw revenues go up to the Treasury in 2018 and 2019, and $4,000 back in the pockets of the average family.

KARL: So – so this was Trump's first visit to Capitol Hill since before the attack on January 6th. I want to play something for you that he said just days before he came back to Capitol Hill about those who have been convicted for attacking the Capitol.

Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Those J6 warriors, they were warriors, but really more than anything else, they're victims of what happened. All they were doing is protesting a rigged election.


KARL: So, do you -- do you buy that? The people that came and beat up Capitol police officers, broke into the building, that they're warriors, or he's also called them hostages, that they're victims.

Do you -- do you agree with that?

SCOTT: Yeah. Anyone who attacks an officer whether on the Capitol grounds or any place else in the country should serve time. The question is for those nonviolent folks who sat outside, who actually simply protested or came into the Capitol because the doors were open, and created no crime, no challenges, those folks today sitting crime in pretrial. That's a devastation.

Some of those have been in pretrial incarcerated for longer than the sentence attached to that crime.

But let me say simply, Jon, the greatest threat to democracy today is Joe Biden. It started back when he became president. We saw a botched Afghanistan withdrawal where 13 Americans lost their lives. We've seen a wide-open, insecure, unsafe southern border with sleeper cells likely in our country, over 100,000 Chinese nationals crossing our southern border, men from Yemen, Iraq, and Afghanistan now populating our country.

KARL: Senator -- Senator --

SCOTT: Part of the 10 million illegal immigrant invasion.

KARL: OK. Senator, the day before that violent mob attacked the Capitol, you put out a statement explaining your decision to certify Joe Biden's election victory.

Do you stand by that? You were not one of those that challenged the results. You voted to certify Biden's election victory. Do you stand by that?

SCOTT: Certainly. I will stand by that decision and the next decision to certify the fact that Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States. November 5th, the day of reckoning, is coming. Early ballots go out in places like North Carolina starting in September.

We're going to focus on making sure that we use every tool in the tool kit to make sure that this election results are clear and profound, and that the American people get four more years of low unemployment, low inflation, high enthusiasm, and a president respected and sometimes feared on the global stage. That president will be Donald Trump.

KARL: All right, and very quickly, we're just about out of time, but you had said that Mike Pence absolutely did the right thing when he defied Donald Trump's demand to -- to not certify that election.

Do you still stand by that, that Pence absolutely did the right thing on January 6th?

SCOTT: The Cons -- the Constitution is clear. What we're trying to focus on is how do we make sure we get four more years where the American people, particularly kids like me, growing up in poverty, have the best future we could possibly have --

KARL: Senator Scott, thank you.

SCOTT: -- getting (ph) their version of the American Dream. That takes Donald Trump.

KARL: Senator Scott, thank you very much for being with us here this Sunday. Thank you.

SCOTT: Thank you, Jon. Yes, sir.

KARL: All right. Coming up, "Nightline" co-anchor Byron Pitts talks to some of the Black voters that Donald Trump and Joe Biden are trying to win over.

And later, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein marking 50 years since the release of their iconic book "All the President's Men". It's only here on "This Week".

We're back in two minutes.



DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Crime is most rampant right here and in African American communities. And more people see me and they say, sir, we want protection. We want police to protect us.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The bottom line is we've invested more in black America than any previous administration in history has. We've opened more doors for economic opportunity, including access to capital, entrepreneurship, work force training.


KARL: President Biden and former President Trump both trying to court black voters. "Nightline" co-anchor Byron Pitts went to Georgia and Michigan to speak with black men about the issues that matter to them.


BYRON PITTS, NIGHTLINE CO-ANCHOR (voice over): In downtown Atlanta –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We’re in the House of Representatives. My name is Salim Amini (ph). Ain't no snitching on the ticket. You would tell that I'm in it. Thieves (ph) don't know me by my government. I gave (ph) work from the major (ph) and I tell him the senate.

PITTS (voice over): This isn't just any rap battle, it’s the culmination of a 2024 outreach event hosted by the Black Male Voter Project. Mondale Robinson is the founder.

MONDALE ROBINSON, BLACK MALE VOTER PROJECT FOUNDER: We talk to the brothers that the world don’t want to talk to. We make them seen. Nobody’s doing that.

PITTS (voice over): Robinson says political parties normally follow a certain pattern when courting black voters, like visiting churches and historically black colleges. His organization follows a different path.

PITTS: Part of the narrative in America about black, male voters, I believe, is that their apathetic. They don't care. True? False?

ROBINSON: False as hell. Apathy means there’s – you’re nonchalant about something. There's no apathy in black men. There's a level of antipathy. Antipathy’s a whole different emotion. You hate what politics is and does because you've not seen the growth or benefit of it.

PITTS (voice over): At the conference, Hitman Holla and John John Da Don are entertainers, battle rappers and both fathers in their 30s.

PITTS: Have ever one of you ever voted in a presidential election?



PITTS: One time. When was that?


PITTS: Then what happened?


PITTS (voice over): They say up until now politics has been a luxury they could not afford.

HITMAN HOLLA: Voting is the last thing on my mind. It's just the last thing on my mind. It just – don't make sense to what's going on in real life, and what y'all want me to vote for. Y'all want me to vote for what? So, Mike Brown can get shot ten times in his head? That's what I'm voting for? So – so George Floyd can get killed on camera, bro? What am I voting for?

PITTS: Are you persuadable, you think, between now and election day with efforts like the event here in Atlanta that you could be persuaded to vote?

JOHN JOHN DA DON: Yes. I just feel like something just got to be – like I just got to be convinced. And I don't know what's going to convince me, to be honest.

PITTS (voice over): Both aren't sold on their options this fall.

PITTS: You're leaning towards Trump?

JOHN JOHN DA DON: Yes, I am. I feel like it was more change when Trump was in office than Biden if we got to compare what's going on.

PITTS: So, when I see you brothers in late fall, are you going to be wearing MAGA hats?

HITMAN HOLLA: No. No. That's what I’m saying. The thing is, I’ll vote. But that’s what I'm saying, they’re my only options. So, it's like, which is – is it like, hey, you want to burn your hand in the oven or do you want to burn your hand in a toaster?

PITTS (voice over): Nearly 800 miles north in Saginaw, Michigan, a community in transition. Once a thriving hub for auto industry, but now.

HURLEY COLEMAN LII, SAGINAW COUNTY COMMUNITY ACTION COMMITTEE CEO: It just look like buildings are deteriorated. Factories and places that used to be very, you know, functional are gone.

PITTS (voice over): Hurley Coleman is the chief executive of the Saginaw County Community Action Committee, a non-profit that helps lower income and elderly residents with food and housing assistance. He close ties to the community caught President Biden’s eye during a visit in May.

COLEMAN: We talked about the economy. We talked about inflation and how – what it feels like to go to the grocery store and to – and to pull out $25 and figure out how far that $25 can stretch. And I believe in what President Biden is trying to accomplish. And so as we get closer to November, I will be paying close attention to those – those policies and to what he believes he wants to move this country towards. And I will be standing with him.

PITTS (voice over): But not everybody is convinced. Forty-seven-year-old Antonio Brooks has voted in every presidential election since he was 18. This time he might sit it out.

ANTONIO BROOKS, COMMUNITY ORGANIZER: I'm tired of being forced to choose the lesser of the greater evils.

I have the right to stand firm in my own beliefs, and -- and what I believe is they're not good candidates for the people.

PITTS: Roy Baldwin owns and operates a barbecue restaurant with his wife, where he's feeling the pinch of inflation. As he works tirelessly to keep up, he doesn't believe Trump or Biden can solve the country's economic concerns.

ROY BALDWIN, BALDWIN'S SMOKEHOUSE BBQ OWNER: At this point, I don't think either one could make a big difference in the economy.

PITTS: Still, he's determined to vote come November.

BALDWIN: It has a lot to do with at least I have a choice. So if you say that "I'm not going to vote," trust me, you already voted. Your vote do count. We fought for it. We died for it, to have a right and a voice. And silent is not always a voice.


KARL: Our thanks to Byron. There will be much more of his reporting on a special edition of "Nightline" airing this Wednesday night on Juneteenth.

Coming up, I'll talk to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on why President Biden's economic message isn't breaking through. The powerhouse roundtable's up next. We're back in a moment.


KARL: Welcome back. Let's bring in the powerhouse roundtable, ABC News political director Rick Klein, Politico 'Playbook' co-author Rachael Bade, former Trump Justice Department spokesperson and 'Dispatch' senior editor Sarah Isgur and Democratic strategist Karen Finney.

So, Rick, help me understand what we've seen here. We saw Trump come to Capitol Hill, talk about unity. We're all 100 percent on board, but we also saw him at the Turning Point conference over the weekend. Steve Bannon warming up the crowd by describing the election as "victory or death."

KLEIN: Well, both things are true at the same time. You've got -- you've got a different messaging for different audiences on different days. And, look, we have to get used to that with Trump.

I think the idea that he will be as disciplined and that the party will be as unified as it was on Capitol Hill this week throughout the election I think flies in the face of everything we've seen from Donald Trump for the last decade.

I also think what we're hearing from people like Bannon echoes what Donald Trump has been talking about, about retribution. And I think --

KARL: It's been the beating heart of his campaign.

KLEIN: It is. Since the very beginning, Jon, as you know and as you've covered, this has been a theme unlike any other, kind of an overriding theme and overriding message when he talks about his Justice Department, when he talks about what's going to happen in another Trump term.

It's much different than it was before. It's a different campaign theme. He's tied up in his own legal troubles. It’s also tied up in what makes MAGA tick these days.

KARL: But, Rachael, can you help explain? Since you're our McConnell whisperer, we bring you in, we want to understand what’s going on. I mean, that handshake?


KARL: McConnell, let's not forget what he said. He said Donald Trump was -- wanted to either -- he was determined to overturn the voters' decision or torch our institutions on the way out. He suggested Trump should be prosecuted in the courts, and now, he's full-on embrace?

BADE: Yeah. I mean, never underestimate --

KARL: Not to even to mention what he said about his wife? I mean --

BADE: I know, that's another thing as well.

Never underestimate the desire for power and the desire to win. And that singlehandedly explains Mitch McConnell’s flip-flop on this. Having covered him for years, there is nothing he wants more than to go out and, you know, leave leadership as he's doing at the end of the year on a positive note.

And he's -- he's a smart guy. He's been in politics for a long time. He knows that a divided Republican Party is not going to help Republicans flip the Senate.

He knows Trump still has power over most Republican voters, that they're going to need him for things like, you know, helping a candidate in this swing state or that swing state. I mean, behind the scenes, they were working to get him to endorse Sam Brown in Nevada just a couple of -- a couple of days ago. So I mean, they know they're going to need him.

And so, he's thinking again about legacy mode and he's being a realist, and that means putting aside his loathe for Donald Trump which by the way, is still there, aside for now, but just for the sake of winning.

KARL: Sarah?

SARAH ISGUR, THE DISPATCH SENIOR EDITOR & FORMER TRUMP JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON & ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOIR: Look, power for what? You know, we used to have campaigns about policies, one policy versus another policy. We would still talk about vibes, vibe elections and the vibe was, you know, which candidate would you rather have a beer with for instance?

This is a purely vibes election. The Republican Party --

KARL: Neither one of these guys actually really drink.


ISGUR: Right. It's not about which candidate you like because nobody likes either of these candidates. Instead, it's about which vibe do you fit into? Sort of like are you a country music listener or an R&B listener? Like, there's a community that is trying to say, you're with us or you're with them, and so this is going to be a vibes election, not a policy election.

It's why Republicans can get together behind Donald Trump because it's not about tariffs or not.

KAREN FINNEY, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST & CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. I -- can I just say? I think there's another dynamic that was going on on the Hill. Let's just say the former governor of Maryland who is running for the Senate, he did not want Trump's endorsement.

KARL: Larry Hogan.

FINNEY: Larry Hogan. He was not happy with that, and you saw his opponent come right out and tie him right to Trump.

That's going to be the challenge we think about. We've got 18 House members who are in Biden districts. They are now tied to Trump. They are now accountable for every single thing that he says so on this grievance tour, and also they're accountable for -- all right. So you're going to defend 34 criminal charges, you know, counts, or are you going to defend access to contraception?

And this was another area where we saw Trump was trying to get everybody around the same sheet of music, recognizing -- because he keeps saying, we've got to win and trying to say, let's downplay how we feel about abortion and these issues and let's try to stop it, and yet what happened? Just within hours, they voted against access to IVF, and the week before, they had voted against access to contraception. So, some of these issues are still going to be very problematic for Republicans.

ISGUR: But those are press release votes. They’re not even real votes. No one thinks this is a real vote. This is still vibes.

FINNEY: That’s not actually true.

KARL: But I’ve got to say for all the circling around Donald Trump and the embrace of McConnell and others, it is worth noting that the people who were closest to Donald Trump in the White House, the people that were in the positions -- many of them, and the most important positions in that White House, Chief of Staff John Kelly, his Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, his vice president, Mike Pence, have all held back --

FINNEY: That's right.

KARL: -- and said that guy is a threat and they're not voting -- voting for him.

BADE: And let's remember that Mitch McConnell was there as well, you know, right after January 6th. I mean, you wrote a book about this. I wrote a book about this.

We have all this reporting about how McConnell said he didn't want to see Trump in office ever again. He said he was never going to talk to him, and, all of a sudden, embracing him for the win there. So --

FINNEY: I think also Americans look at that, and this is what they loathe the most aboutpolitics, which is people don't actually mean -- they feel like, mean what they say. They just say what is politically expedient in that moment, and not what is actually best for them. And I think we're going to see and we know also in that meeting, one of the things that Donald Trump stressed with Mike Johnson, the Speaker of the House is, get me out of these convictions. Do what you can.

He also clearly, we saw, they're going to continue to do everything they can to exploit every tool they have to try to go after Joe Biden because we know, and sort of muddy the waters. That is the Trump strategy. On the one hand, the message is grievance.

KARL: So --

FINNEY: On the other hand, it's muddy the waters. I know you are, but what am I? And he's going to try to use Congress to help him do that.

KARL: Well, we'll have a big moment coming up, June 27th. We have this debate. So Rick, CNN has just given us the rules for this debate.


KARL: Gave us -- I mean, yeah, we know that there, the mics are going to be shut off when their time is up.

KLEIN: Yeah.

KARL: There are going to be commercial breaks. How is this going to play out?

KLEIN: Just in the studio. No audience.

KARL: No audience.

KLEIN: A lot different than it has in the past.

KARL: Yeah.

KLEIN: Basically, the Biden team was able to write the rules because the way that they played hard to get on this and say, they wouldn't do it unless Trump would agree to the way they wanted to do it. And I think a lot of that format is going to favor Joe Biden, but the fact of a debate, Donald Trump thinks it favors him, and in his calculation, his team's calculation is, any time they can get themselves one-on-one in a room with Joe Biden, that's Trump winning.

KARL: Except they're portrayed Biden as a guy that can't even -- like doesn't even know where he is. So he --

KLEIN: It may be (inaudible) but he's got it clear, right?

KARL: Right.

KLEIN: He has to be able to stand up there for an hour and a half, with the breaks, whatever else, not referring to notes -- whatever the rules are, and show that he can do it. I think that's going to be much more important than the Herr Report or any reporting about what he's like behind the scenes. People get to see it in June and then at the ABC debate in September.

FINNEY: And look, that's part of the reason that the Biden campaign wanted to do this debate early, is that, I think there was a recognition that we needed to do -- they needed to do something to shake things up, right? Because waiting until the fall, waiting until after these conventions was going to be too late, particularly given that people start voting early.

As also a CNN commentator, I will say the goal I think is to have -- to try to have an actual conversation about policy. I doubt we will get much of that because as we know, for Trump, this will be a performance. And so part of the Biden strategy and preparing is, yes, there will be policy pieces that he wants to get through, but then also being prepared for the fact that when you debate Donald Trump, having gone through this in 2016 with Hillary, it is so hard to know what he's going to do. He is so unpredictable. You may turn his mic off, but he will be gesticulating, and I promise you that will be a clip that we'll all be talking about.

BADE: It's really hard for me to see how this is beneficial to Donald Trump. There's no audience. He plays off the energy of the crowd, and you know, by cutting his mic off, like talking over people, he's not going to be able to sort of distract from the policy debate.

Somebody once told me when we were first talking about this CNN debate and what the rules might look like, that the hardest possible debate you can have is what we're going to see here. And that is no audience, very strict time restraints and not being able to interrupt people, and that means the focus is going to be very much on policy which honestly is not Donald Trump's strength. So I don't know, I think this does give Biden an advantage.

ISGUR: It's also possible that this will be an incredibly boring debate that will make no difference. Wait, if it is a policy debate --

BADE: It is very early.

ISGUR: And the mics are cut off.

BADE: Yeah.

ISGUR: It is in the middle of the summer when everyone's on vacation. Debates generally, historically speaking have not made a big difference in any presidential campaign to date. I don't know why we think a midsummer debate --


ISGUR: -- where the mic is cut off is going to be particularly meaningful.

KARL: All right. Rick, we only have a minute. Give us the forecast, the new 538 forecast actually has Trump with a slight advantage over Joe Biden.

KLEIN: Yeah. 51 out of 100 times in a simulation, our friends at 538 have Donald Trump winning. That's actually up a little bit. When it first launched a few days ago, it was Biden by a couple of percentage points, but this to me is --

KARL: Wait. Am I reading this right? 271 electoral votes?

KLEIN: That's -- yes.

KARL: So --

KLEIN: That's enough.


KARL: So, it's 268, 271--

KLEIN: Yeah.

KARL: He literally does not get any closer?

KLEIN: Yeah. It is -- yeah, 267 -- it is as close as it can be, and look, that's -- I think it has a lot to do with why Mitch McConnell, why Tim Scott and these Republicans come up (ph). When they were saying that he was -- in the past, they thought he was a loser. They thought it could never happen again. This is a coin-flip election. It's going to be very close in the battleground states and the fact that that is the reality right now in June, I think is driving the discourse and driving people back into Trump's fold. They see a chance to win, and our forecast would suggest that it's a legitimate chance.

KARL: All right.

FINNEY: I think the debate is going to give folks an opportunity to hear more about what Biden has actually done and what his vision is, and I think you're going to see Trump be erratic and it's going to reinforce the narratives. Absolutely.

KARL: All right. We will see.

Up next, new data shows inflation is cooling, but are Americans feeling it? We'll ask Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen when we come back.

And later, Woodward and Bernstein, 50 years after the release of "All the President's Men."


KARL: President Biden and Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, this week, announced a new initiative to use proceeds from seized Russian assets to help fund Ukraine’s war effort.

For more on that and the state of the economy, I’m joined now exclusively by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

Secretary Yellen, thank you so much for – for being here.

Let's start with that – this program. Can you explain what's happening? Because you're not actually selling the Russian assets and giving the money to Ukraine, you're using the proceeds. Explain how this works.

JANET YELLEN, SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY: Well, right after Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine, the United States, and our global coalition partners, decided to freeze, to impound Russian sovereign assets in our jurisdiction. And that amounted to around $280 billion. And of that, the vast majority, around $200 billion, are sitting in a Belgian financial institution where they're generating income that does not belong to Russia and had been accruing to that institution. And we have agreed – the G-7 and our partners have agreed to tap the value of that stream to provide a $50 billion loan to Ukraine that will be paid from those so-called windfall profits that are accruing in this financial institution.

KARL: So – so just –

YELLEN: We're really building on work that Europe did earlier to make sure that the flow, around $3 billion to $5 billion a year, went to Ukraine, but we're bringing that forward by making a loan that will be repaid over time.

KARL: As – as I’m sure you saw, Vladimir Putin responded to this by calling it theft. That was his word. And warning that it would not go unpunished.

Do you have any concerns about either the possible legal challenges to this or about Russian retaliation?

YELLEN: Well, I – there is no sense at all in which it's theft. The Russian assets remain in this institution. They’ve been impounded. The investments that Russia had have matured. So, Russia’s funds are sitting in cash, but they're generating income for the institutionwhich Russia has no claim on.

YELLEN: So there's no legal issue here. And our allies, our partners, the G7 will provide Ukraine a $50 billion loan, which will be repaid over time from these proceeds. And I'd say the G7 leaders had already made it clear that they will not unfreeze these assets until Russia pays for the damage that it's cost Ukraine.

And we're really in a battle of wills with Putin. Putin, I think, believes that our coalition will crumble in the sense we won't go on providing Ukraine with the resources that they need to fight this war and to keep their economy running. And this is a way of showing that we have the capacity and the will to do so.

KARL: And -- and on the economic situation here at home, you've cited a lot of the positive macroeconomic indicators. The rate of inflation is coming down. Unemployment is low. The economy's growing. But why is it then that voters seem so unsatisfied?

And in fact, in poll after poll, voters say they trust Donald Trump with the economy more than Joe Biden. What -- what's going on?

YELLEN: Well, I think the pandemic was a profoundly difficult time. But in the years leading up to the pandemic, Americans were really, many of them, working-class families just struggling with things like healthcare costs, the cost of energy, education costs, childcare costs.

And so they -- they really feel the cost of living. Housing is particularly unaffordable in so many parts of the country. And I think the inflation that we experienced after the pandemic just compounded this feeling for them that life isn't affordable. So it is the Biden administration's top priority to address these costs where we possibly can and make progress in healthcare...

KARL: Yeah, and just to be clear, I mean, the rate of inflation is coming down, but overall inflation is up 19 percent since President Biden took office. On some everyday goods, it's much higher. The price of eggs is up 84 percent since President Biden took office; ground beef, up 30 percent; bread, up 27 percent.

I mean, by and large, inflation rate may go down, but those prices aren't returning to where they were. I mean, those prices are going to remain high?

YELLEN: Well, it is true that, over the last roughly three years, there's been a significant increase in the price level. It's now rising at a very slow, close to normal rate. But, yes, Americans see that, and mainly it comes on top of concern about costs that were making life very difficult. So it's something the Biden administration absolutely wants to address.

I would point out, of course, that wages have also gone up during this time, and government studies show that, for all -- for households at all points in the income distribution...

KARL: Secretary...

YELLEN: ... wages have gone up somewhat more than prices.

KARL: Secretary, I only have about...

YELLEN: So the typical American is somewhat better off.

KARL: I only have about 10 seconds left, but I, very quickly, want to ask you, Donald Trump floated an idea of replacing all federal income taxes with high tariffs. Any way that that is remotely feasible?

YELLEN: It would require tariffs well over 100 percent.


YELLEN: The impact would be to make life unaffordable for working-class Americans...

KARL: All right, thank you...

YELLEN: ... and would harm American businesses.

KARL: Thank you, Secretary Yellen. Really appreciate your time this morning. Thank you.

Up next, it's been 50 years since "All the President's Men" and the end of Richard Nixon's presidency. Reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein reflect on the legacy of their book and their reporting when we come back.



BOB WOODWARD, PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING JOURNALIST: We're not engaged in histrionics or pneumatics. And that's what is so good about the movie. It's not Batman and Robin; it's reporters.

CARL BERNSTEIN, PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING JOURNALIST: Yeah. It's -- reporting, you know, is so slow and incremental. You get a little here and a little there, particularly when it's a story that you're dealing with that lots of people don't want you to know about, and that's exactly what Watergate was and they portrayed that.


KARL: That was Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein at the 1976 premiere of the movie "All the President's Men." Saturday marked the 50th anniversary of the book that that movie was based on, one that's been called the greatest reporting story of all-time.

I caught up with Woodward and Bernstein this week at the scene of that crime, the Watergate Complex where it all began. "All the President's Men," the book which "Time Magazine" later called perhaps the most influential piece of journalism in history. Did it seem that way at the time?

WOODWARD: No. This was necessity. We had signed up. Carl had the idea. Let's do a book because we'd written these stories that no one believed and --

BERNSTEIN: A little bit more than that, we didn't think the truth about Watergate was going to ever come out.

KARL: But the book became about you guys, kind of, right?

WOODWARD: Yeah, and so we are going through and, how do we write it? And I said, well, the one rule of journalism, write about what know best.

BERNSTEIN: What you know.

WOODWARD: And know -- you know nothing better than what you've done, so let's write about what we did, and your reaction was --

BERNSTEIN: That this was going to be an ego trip that we could not do it. But Woodward said, look, we don't have anything to write about at this point, but ourselves.

WOODWARD: And so, my mother had a house in Naples, Florida. We went down there with our boxes of data. Carl sat out by the swimming pool in the most awful pair of green shorts you've ever seen, let alone his body, and typed on a -- had a little table and his typewriter there.

I sat in the kitchen, and we said, to get this done, we're going to have to each do 10 pages a day, and then we can go out to dinner. And so that's what we did.

KARL: So I -- I want to get to the beginning of the book, because you talk about how the day of the break-in, the day after the break-in, when you guys come in, you're assigned to the story.

WOODWARD: I looked across the room and he was working on this story, and I said to myself, "Oh, God, no, not Bernstein."


KARL: And, according to the book, when you find out that Woodward's on -- on the story as well, you write, "'That figured,'" Bernstein thought, 'Bob Woodward was a prima donna.' Bernstein knew that Woodward couldn't write very well. One office rumor had it that English was not Woodward's native language.”

Who wrote that line?

BERNSTEIN: I suspect I did, sitting in that chair in my green shorts.


WOODWARD: No, because I knew that was what the author's story was on me, so I wrote it.

BERNSTEIN: The real thing is, though, that within a few days of working on this story together, each of us saw in the other remarkable things. In fact, we often switch, to this day, half a century later, roles that are -- what's expected of me, he'll do. What's expected of him, I'll do. A lot of the writing in here, some of the best writing in the book is his. It's -- it's the way it’s worked all along.

WOODWARD: Can -- will you say that again?


KARL: Yeah, yeah, that's on -- we’re on the record now.

BERNSTEIN: But it's true. And it's true -- and in a number of other things that we've written together.

WOODWARD: But, I mean, what it demonstrates is the power of collaboration.

BERNSTEIN: That's right.

WOODWARD: One, I mean, you learn, always. We learn in our personal lives. You never do anything alone, effectively. And it's the same with journalism. And the culture at the Washington Post at the time was Ben Bradlee was the great editor, and it's true, he believed in giving reporters running room.

KARL: Why is it that this book has become such an iconic book for journalists?

I mean, this was a huge bestseller, but, you know, in a way, it inspired not just one, multiple generation of journalists.

BERNSTEIN: I think...

KARL: The book and the movie.

BERNSTEIN: Well, I think two things, and you said the movie. The book itself is like a primer on basic reporting.

KARL: Yeah.

BERNSTEIN: It's -- you see, what's the most important decision we make as reporters?

To go out at night and to visit people who worked for Richard Nixon and his re-election in their homes, knock on their doors, have the doors, you know, slammed in our faces, except for the few that didn't. And then you see in the movie those people who talked to us, enabled us to get our foot in the door. And the movie took it to another level, because visually, you see what we write, and it has a different kind of power.

KARL: So, re-reading the book, I was blown away at how closely, particularly, that opening chapter follows the movie, or the movie follows the book.

BERNSTEIN: But there was an understanding from the beginning, when Robert Redford bought the rights to the movie and Alan Pakula became the director, there was an understanding among all of us that the movie was going to be absolutely truthful and follow the book, because that's what happened.


JASON ROBARDS AS BEN BRADLEE IN 'ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN': We’re under a lot of pressure, you know, and you put us there. Nothing’s riding on this except the first amendment of the Constitution, freedom of the press and maybe the future of the country.


BERNSTEIN: Ben Bradlee came up to us and said, "OK, you're really sure about this story?"

And we said, "Yes."

He says, "Because there's never been a story like this before."


WOODWARD: Well, you're about to accuse the Attorney General, the person closest to Richard Nixon, of being a criminal.

BERNSTEIN: Right. You better be right.


KARL: Yeah, and what are you thinking when you see -- you're watching the president resign?

BERNSTEIN: Awe that the system had worked. We knew we were a part of what had happened.

WOODWARD: Yes, but there's a lot of accident in this. When I was in the Navy and worked for the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Moore, he sent me over to the White House to deliver documents. And by accident, I'm sitting next to a guy with gray hair like this, and we’re waiting, because you always had to wait. And I introduced myself, Lieutenant Woodward, and he said, I'm Mark Felt...

KARL: Deep Throat.

WOODWARD: The FBI and I met him, got his phone number, and essentially, he obviously had gone to law school and so forth. I was thinking of law school, and so my initial contacts with him were kind of career advice --

KARL: Career advice.


WOODWARD: And -- and then I'm working at 'The Post,' and realized there's this guy Felt and oh, he's now the number two in the FBI and in charge of the Watergate investigation.

KARL: Incredible.

WOODWARD: And so, we kept that secret from 1972 to 2005.

BERNSTEIN: Well, I remember when he first told me, I said, 'How does he get in touch with you?' And Woodward said, 'I moved the flower pot on my balcony,' and I thought, 'I'm with somebody here who is kind of pathological.'

You move the flower pot on your balcony?

WOODWARD: But see at the core is protect the source, because if you can have a source like that, who gave us direction and encouragement, and remember, we're living in a world where even our colleagues at "The Washington Post" were saying, you know, those two young kids have -- are off on some sort of bender.

BERNSTEIN: Yeah. And we were 28 and 29 at the time.

WOODWARD: This is somebody who can speak from truth and you really have -- we know in journalism, you have to protect truth and the sources of truth.

KARL: But you have to trust him too. You shared the name with him.

WOODWARD: Yeah, we have to.

KARL: You guys had a joint byline --

WOODWARD: He has -- we have to know. And then we -- there came a point, I don't know exactly when it was, when you said to me, he said, you know, we are connected for life.

BERNSTEIN: Well, that's the thing that's really --


BERNSTEIN: And 50 years later, we're on the phone, usually a couple times a week to each other. We keep up with the work that the other is doing. We talk about what's going on here in Washington, about what's going on in the White House, and --

WOODWARD: And what we don't know --


WOODWARD: -- which is always too much.

KARL: Which is a lot.


BERNSTEIN: We're joined at the hip.


KARL: A warm thank you to Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. We'll be right back.


KARL: That's all for us today. Thank you for sharing part of your Father's Day with us, and have a great day.