'I wouldn't have' commuted Roger Stone's prison sentence: Chris Christie

The Powerhouse Roundtable breaks down the latest on the George Floyd protests on "This Week."
20:25 | 07/12/20

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Transcript for 'I wouldn't have' commuted Roger Stone's prison sentence: Chris Christie
Let's use this opportunity to take bold investments so the future is made in America, all in America. We should use it to buy American products and support American jobs. It's a plan that it's very radical left but he said the right things because he's copying what I've done. But the difference is, he can't do it. President trump, Joe Biden sparring on the economy. One of the areas where president trump still holds an advantage over Joe Biden. Let's talk about the race now with our roundtable. Joined by Chris Christie, Rahm Emanuel, Amanda carpenter, and zerlina Maxwell. Welcome to all of you. Rahm, let me begin with you. Joe Biden has about a nine-point lead in national polls right now. Leading in all of the battleground states, some Democrats talking about into Georgia, Texas, is that overconfidence? Yes and no. I think on the straight point I always think what you have right now don't get confused with the national polls. They're very good. The vice president is up in the battleground states, I would right now, number one goal, secure those top battleground states before you expand the field. I think for right now zi wouldn't spike the ball on the 20 yard line. We know what happened in 2016, focus right now on securing Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona, Florida and North Carolina. That's what I would do and then look strategically about which one of those opportunities. Right now, the election where the American people warranty a president who solves problem. Donald Trump until he changes that scenario, he's seen as a source of problems and Joe Biden is a secure, smooth choice and nothing has changed that dynamics, if it doesn't change Joe Biden is in a good position and the Democrats are in a very good position. Chris Christie, the biggest problem for the president right now, the two big crises the country is facing right now, the covid crisis and the crisis in race relations, 67% of the public disapproves of how the public turns that around he can't be in that right. I don't know if that's true, George. It's never good as an incumbent to have crises going on during the time you're running for re-election. Pretty simple understanding. Anyone who's been involved in national politics. I think what the president needs to do, start to talk about what he wants to do the next four right now, Biden is laying out an agenda that's being unchallenged. If the president challenged that agenda, you turn this into a binary election rather than a referendum on the president. The thing that Rahm pointed out the vice president is ahead in many of the battleground states, he's not ahead as the national polls are showing. And I think what president needs to do is to lay out his vision for the next four years, we don't need to look backwards, we need to look forward. If you start to do that you can change the tenure of the debate in the country. Zerlina, vice president Biden this week his first real major economics speech where he tried to take it to president trump. Go ahead, zerlina. Yes, George, vice president Biden put out a robust economic plan and that plan demonstrates that he does have a vision to help the most marginalized people. I think that the contrast that mayor Rahm Emanuel was talking about is important to highlight. Because Joe Biden needs to set forth a vision, potentially in the middle of this covid crisis and also with voters concerned about how that vaccine potentially would be distributed. We're voting for a vaccine delivery system, and I think that paints a very visual I think we should be very present in this moment and deal with the public health crisis intrinsically linked with the economic crisis. A vaccine is developed relatively quickly before the end of this year, that we continue to see an improvement in the economics situation so you have real growth in third quarter, will that be enough? That's the hope. I mean, where this race really started to get away from trump was last spring with three events that happened, you had the protests in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, you had the pandemic and then you had the nomination of Joe Biden who a lot of Republican and independent voters said, you know what maybe I can live with that. They can jockey over who's the economic populous, consultant-driven stuff that doesn't matter. What matters is whether America is open again or not. You look at the coronavirus crisis, we have been dealing with this since the past March, months and months, and you look at this administration, they woke up in July, and said, oh, yeah, what about schools? Families are worried about this. The plan is we'll mandate you open up. Figure it out or we'll take away the funding. You know who's going to hurt. Women. Donald Trump's last strong hold is noncollege educated, mostly white rural women. The last poll that looked at that he had 11-point slide. George -- Chris Christie. Rahm and then Chris. I think there should be two points added here. Number one, you have a situation vice president Biden laid out an agenda that kept both wings of the party together and provided an uneasy target for the president. The president called it both stupid and copying him. Only trump could say that about another plan. Number two, right now if you look at all the polling and focus groups the country feels we're driving 70 miles an hour around a turn in the dark of night on wet pavement and the person at the steering wheel has a learner's permit. Elections are either change or stay the course and right now, change is beating stay the course by 15 points. Let me bring that to Chris, you talked about the president laying out a second term agenda, pick up on the points made by both Amanda and Rahm right there, doesn't he need to do more to reach out particularly these suburban women who have been turned off by the whole coronavirus crisis has been managed? Well, George, laying out a vision for the next four years is what will do that. Whether you're suburban woman, an urban man, whether you're someone who has children, wondering when they're going back to school, you're wondering what will happen next? I disagree with zerlina on, we have to look at the horizon and focus on the future and lay out a plan. Here's the problem for vice president Biden on this point, he is still refuses with the exception of one speech this week to get out there and really start to talk about things. This is a strategy by his campaign and by the democratic they don't want him out there because we have seen also there have been some really concerning videos put out recently of the vice president struggling with articulating his vision. Struggling with answering direct questions. That gives us a preview for what I think the most important presidential debates since 1980. Because there's real uncertainty about Reagan in 1980. Was he ready for the job against an incumbent. When Ronald Reagan reassured people that he was going to be okay as president of the united States, that raced turned into a blowout. Joe Biden will have the same opportunity but the same risks. I think that the debates are going to be something because Biden has hidden so much even more important this time than they were in recent memory. Does Biden have to get out more right now, zerlina? I certainly think they that are being cautious in this particular moment and only strategically putting the vice president into space where he can be effective. What their strategy, did what will help their strategy use a robust list of surrogates and influencers in social media spaces to get the message out about the vice president's plan. He's not only the messenger for the message now. We're presently in the middle of a crisis so just to push back on the point that we shouldn't talk about the here and now, there are 136,000 Americans dead right that number is only rising at a moment where it seems the administration is not on the same page with all the governors in terms of the one federal policy that dictates what everybody should be doing to keep everyone safe because, George, this is a country where we all are a part of maintaining the health and security of all Americans and that's something to keep in mind and Joe Biden is a good messenger for that, but there are other folks, surrogates and influencers who can go out and speak to those younger and more diverse communities that he definitely needs to turn out in November. Amanda -- George, George. I want to say, that's not what I say. What I say, if you're going to be an effective candidate for re-election you must lay out a vision for the future. The president is talking every day about the current crises. You had admiral Giroir earlier on in the show laying out their testing strategy. One other thing in response to what zerlina, putting the vice president in places where he can most effective. That's not the way the presidency makes. You get put into the presidency, not someplace where you're most you have to show that you Yo can deal with the stress and the difficulty of the job and that's what I'm talking about that they have to show the American people. Amanda, everyone will be scrutinizing the vice president's choice for a running mate as well. Lot of talk this week about Rahm's fellow senator from Illinois, Tammy Duckworth, what do you make of that. Sort of interesting. It seems like the strategy from the Republicans is sort of Biden out of hiding. I think Chris would agree with that. All trump is trying to do is force people back into these petty political fights. I think a lot of Americans have had enough of that. What makes Tammy Duckworth appealing to a lot of people right now, she got poked, she got poked by tucker Carlson. She said I'm not going to take this. George, can -- I don't think people want to see that. People are out of work. Kids can't go to school. Donald Trump, we don't need to see the future because we have a past to judge on. This is a referendum, we have a record to look to with Donald Trump. Let it be that. Rahm. Two things, put aside the fact the attack on Tammy Duckworth the senator from Illinois and the governor of Michigan Gretchen Whitmer, both reinforce the president's -- he's pushing away college educated women. President Obama got 46% of that vote. Today, vice president Biden is north of 60%. This trend, attacking women governors, women senators, all I can say to the trump campaign, keep going. Don't stop. Just be yourself. It's not going to work. Vice president Biden has to do four things in the next four months -- pick the right running mate, perform in all three debates, lay out an agenda to the future and make sure that he draws a stark contrast and the reason, Chris is acting the way he is because Biden is executing his campaign perfectly. He's laying out an agenda for the future, letting the president stand out in the arena by himself, fully exposing himself to the American people that reality TV is not up to reality and that's what's hurting president trump can't be administer himself out of these three crises. What he has to do on his own administer both the virus, police reform, economic recovery, he can't organize himself out of a wet paper bag and he's being exposed for what he is and that's a fraud. Chris, he called you out. You respond. Listen, you know Rahm puts so many different phrases in there. Organized out of a wet paper bag. Too complicated for you, Chris. Definitely too complicated. Here's the problem, the problem for Rahm, he said there are four things for Biden. He's come out of the basement once in the last few weeks and I would disagree with Amanda, I'm not advocating that we get into petty political fights with Joe Biden. I'm advocating that the president lays out his vision out for the next four years and vice president Biden lay out his vision for the next four years and let the American people choose. There's always an element of referendum when you're dealing with an incumbent. But if the incumbent wants to win, the incumbent has to lay out the agenda for the next four years. But, you know, we still have about 115 days or so to go. We'll see whether the president can execute on that or not. I don't know the answer to that question. That's one of the big questions, zerlina, one thing from the president is the focus on other issues, of course that Friday night commutation of Roger stone's sentence, any sense from you that that could work for him politically? Commuting a sentence of somebody who was convicted of a crime looking into the president's conduct? No, I don't think that's going to be beneficial for the it reminds the American people that this president has been impeached. A Republican senator Mitt Romney the only senator to vote for conviction come out saying that this is unprecedented historic corruption. That's a quotable. That's something that the American people understand. To the point about the vision for the future, the current situation is going to dictate what the future looks like. If we don't get the virus under control in the states currently that are experiencing spikes, I'm a daughter of a biologist, George, if we don't get that under control then we are not going to be able to have much of a robust future and economic growth going forward because, again, all of these crises are interconnected and the president has been incompetent in dealing with them. He stood up in front of a podium and told people to inject disinfectants. Talking about the president in spaces he can or cannot be effective, to the governor's point. About Joe Biden can reach out and speak to that democratic base, the democratic base in this current moment in 2020 is women of color, black women vote six points higher than the national average. We turn out at nearly 70% of the time and that's something that Joe Biden can focus on that Democrats don't traditionally focus on in this early in the election cycle. Tip the election in your favor particularly in these critical battleground states like north Carolina, but don't forget Georgia, which is on the list as a state where the black vote can have a major impact. Chris, was the commutation the right thing to do? I would haven't done it, George. I don't think the facts that surround the stone prosecution support the idea of any type of clemency, I wouldn't have done you're right in the question, the president has the right to do it but I wouldn't have done it. Amanda carpenter the the question is, Adam Schiff made this point earlier in the program, Mitt Romney aside, pat Toomey in Pennsylvania aside, Republican party has basically said, we're okay with this and maybe one of the reasons is, the president was on Twitter this morning attacking pat Toomey and Mitt Romney. Yeah, this is -- I mean, this is a serious subject and it's not just about Roger stone, this is a page in a whole book about how Donald Trump is replacing the rule of law with the rule of trump. You look at serious things that have been happening, he's purging attorneys general in important districts, eastern district of New York, southern district of New York, what on the, D.C., ousting inspectors general who try to exercise accountability other this administration. Where are we going to? He's putting his political allies into important positions while he threatens Obama with treason and wants to go -- continue to go after Joe Biden, and so what happens when he turns justice inside-out and he not only obstructs justice but wields it against his political that's what I'm worried about going into November the lack of Republicans who are willing to stand up for the rule of law are paving the way for worst things to come. I'm very worried about the time we're going into, in November, when Donald Trump gets desperate to preserve his power. Rahm Emanuel, praert clear that everything's about the election. I have a view on this. First of all the Republicans are going to pay a price for 100% blind loyalty, not finding any room or degree of differences with the president. They're tried to him over the 3 1/2 years, they'll pay a price for that blind 100% loyalty. When I saw the Roger stone clemency, I thought it was the first indication that the president knows he's going to lose and the first time you could see an action taken not to enhance his chances of winning another controversy, he doesn't need more controveries around his candidacy and presidency. He needs to clear them out. And every day he's M.O. Going back to Roy Cohn is fight, fight, fight. Right now, he's made picking the wrong fights. This is first time that you see he knows he's not going to win. Thanks all of you for watching. Have a good afternoon. The amazing doctors at newyork-presbyterian,

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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