Dem strategist critical of anonymous op-ed: If Trump unfit, 'be public' about it

The "This Week" Powerhouse Roundtable debates the week in politics, including the op-ed by a senior administration official published anonymously in The New York Times.
15:36 | 09/09/18

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Transcript for Dem strategist critical of anonymous op-ed: If Trump unfit, 'be public' about it
'S not clear anyway that it's somebody in the white house. They're saying snistration official thatould be people. If you're not in a positi to cute the commr's intent, have you a singular tion, it I T leaveecause I know someone willsay,gosh, you didn't answer the question, it's not mine. Think "The new and I thin whoer E this anomous editorial she ashamed,ll Eventually the name of this sick person will come out. The name hat come out anonymous in "The New York lot to talk ab our roundtable this morning joined bn Karl, decr strategist andcutter. N,si directoror the romy mpaign. A fellow at Stanford's Hoover institutio Chris ristie, former new Jersey governor, former prosec, served on the trump transition and "Nerk times" columnist mich Jon, takus inside the white house. The Bob Woodward leaks coming out right on the heels of thathis anonyms thing in York Times." What is it lsi when ha happens? The presintdy a terrieood when this all happened. If yemembered Sunday the Y before T first Woodward excerpts came out, you had him tweeting at sessions he ld stop the investigation. Into the republicanssmen. Into E republicressmen. The prent was in a bad place concerned where things are going with the mids but, loo there is a witch-hunt going on in the west wing, the prent isbsessed wi finding out who did this, punishingha person and now, of course, also and, of course, Al suggest "The new rk times" should be punished for publishing it. Ent right at the "The new michleu write Foat GE and queions for New York mes" cominout of that, especially what this definiti O administ it C be quite anstic definition. Yeah, I'm in a posion answer th thinkou kw -- They didn't tell you who it is. No. I wish they did and I rtainly -- certainly, you know, begged my editor but I don't K she knowei I think a pretty closely held secret within the organization. It doe R the question, Chris christie,bout just how serious this is. It's this wa member the cat or one the assistants to the president Ver say, a deputy assnt of state. Well, you and ipo about this on thursdand I thinity become clearer since then with the denials that we' seen tit's more likely than not now that a. And th fact is, if they'ot, then you don't know how much real interaction know what ey're saying that is ndhand or irdhand rmation. First of all, I don'tson who wrthis if yoask them wld say, oh, you've got me. It was me, right? How here'sly. To take the denial. Marfelt also denieing deoat many, many times before it came out that he actually was. And also I think what do we have?don't knowhat the nuer of denials is but there are a lot of people withior crucial reelin the admtration of both the white house, the state department, national security say that it's not one of these dozen or two dozen people doesn't tell you anything about how this person is. Now, wait a second. Does telou how senr this person is. If it'second in command to John Kelly, you don't think 'S a -- no, what I'm telling you is that the people denied far and Lile that have denied encompass almost all the people that you and I would deteine our senior administratifficials a. Ne of the persuasive pieces I saw in slate suggesting it could have been Amon hunt, the ambaador to Russia. And his den was atle squishbut beyond that point I hani. When you cbi not only the op-ed but whhes Ying in itut how a series ofple who apart of th sistance, mbine that the reporting and Bob odward and how details working against the president it's prhocking. It's Ty shocking. It's nothing that we didn't Ady know. You know, just to go back -- We didn't Kry Cohn was ling memosffhe president's desk. We didn' know det like that but we knewctly where Gary Cohn stood on this. It's one of the reasons he Regn I thk lots of -- orked in two white houses under O different prents.there are lot of ser people that work in that building. A lot of people -- serious opwork acrosstrations at are senior that you've never heard of. It could any one them.what they' dealing ishat we all suspected,nt is not up to the jestion is,hat's the purpose of tha-ed?ed it contributing really to the discussion profiles iurage say I do something about it. President Obama addressed this on the campaign tr he sai it's trting 90% E crazy things butnding up to just 10%. Do somhit. If you think this man is not fit foe job then be publ have the courage to stand up and do it. Ye connectein Republican foreign picy les. W is this ce inside adston?fair to sa there er of PEOP in E administtion who differing policy views the president or came into the adminih differing po views frothe presid I thk it's a very different thing on the one hand to say, let's get togeth beforehand ak about how to influence how the president is ING to makforeign policy it's qte another as the op-ed claims to say once the presids made a dision, wee actually going to do that, ri so I think the latcategory is a much smaller group of people, more than jusfew cause this is a very troubling thing to say the president said we're going to execute this licy, we're not going dot. But, orge, I have to tell administti have had top pe on his te including ople very muh the program generally crazy, yoould see E uff we stop from happening. Thate Woodward ok. That's theme of thisp-ed. Re's also different, to sou stop thgs from happg, can vy many what lanhs talking ou the president says he wantsodo something. The advisers get a meeng and talk him Roh it and talk him out of it.it happeneto me as Gover it hpens to principals all the .re going to reacto something. You're going to say want to do somethi cooler hearevail or rent informn comes in and you change you time. Bunot talking out kind Ong of rival E debate. Right? They'rempt fear, T? His instabilputs us inn and that they feel like T have toe there to be the dulls in the om. And iestly don't understand how people can be part of this and not fehame and notsome respoibility fo foisng this onhe nation. This was one in the op-ed that did speak out that oer people en't talk about and that's the president'slack of molity and - Amoral. Amoral, amorality and that listening in the United States should speak to the rtance of is debate ngoodward Bo or top-ed, youave to look at the decisions the president isg, what his instincts are and N't just lk at what people are saying behind the actual ons. And, ee, that's policy differ what's so S both in the Woodward book and op-ed, these aresonal observations on the president's characr and compence. And I think that is something at does differentiate it from policy bheuestion then is to what end does someone write an op-ed piece lik what is the -- if your point is you believe the presides amoral for office, then rign and make that case publicly allow the congress to do its job and enforce thcongress ime way to there a separation ofers. N sasse had a remarkab introductiong net hearings last week where he talked about cong cated its authy a M, then there are ways of deg with thithat go beyond just writing an anonymous op The purpose is clearly to hurt the president. At's why this person -- if he intern, you woul'to this. Why not R an interest queson, if person did it as one of ose who publicly denied it, whayork times" it information do they continue to prsomebody W was publicly telling a lie? Thawhy I say at the denials are important because I would assume that "Tew York timeould be respe enough THA someone is out Ying about their participation in something ththat that uld then fce them to out this person if it. If they kno a public figure is lying. A senior administration ficial, someono has responsibilityet me tell you thidea that someone should be shamed for working in this administra is an outge statemt. It's an absolutely outrageous statement. U're servingtry and ifou get to E point, you have two choices, if you get to the point wher fferences the persol differences are profound enough that you can't be D of being there ymore, then get leave but don't be a coward and write an anonymous thing and then have -- have a news nization bwilling to accept that kind of cowardice. Beca it is. Well, look, news organization is not responsible for makiure that mbers of the administration behave honorably. Ifembers of E administration are behaving dishonorably enough and place that itself is news. But E fact is and ously people in this administration have any rpehe esimal whi is whyt's been srd to -- That's not true. Wchwhy it's shard to down who ote this in the first place. That's yournion. That's just true. That'st noom where Y sit you he no respt for the president me that their-- you think John Kelly has respect for the president. I do think johnly has respect for the president. Doou think John Matthews -- Jim Mattis, by the way. You'r right. If he he'd leave bee these arhoe men who have served our coed greatly if thehad no respect the prent, they'd get up and nobodynk Bob Woodward was lying? Do youoodward was wrong? Donk he had it wrong? Let me tell you something, all I know about what Bob woodwardte about min the was profodlg and he never picked up the phon factheck with about a ersation tt he quoteim and words that thabob is makthings up,ut that Bob may, I fact, be relying upon people who are making ts up, and he didn'to his home. Accessible. George, know, Y can find my nr pretty eil other. Bob woodwcould have called George and asked him how to get I touch with me he dn't. He should absolutely called you absolutely.but, you K you have en a attorney. You look at the preponderance of the ce. The arme are being made in the Woodward book, the argumentbeing made about the chief of staff of defense or any that whi house areot new argument this stuff has been leaking out since one. So, E has to some truth H feel this way about him, thin hehinks like fifth sixth grader. These aren't my words. These E leaking T from the white Housand they he been leaking out si years INT this It's not only leakie top. You did ha at the beginninek that tweet from the presidsically saying ING again Ave never who ha been prosecuted and er the anonymous, he says, Jeff sessions ought to investigate "The nk times." These unprecedend a president right there in public. Ll, I Thi certainly it seems members Ong who have gotten into legal obably notorth ING people like that, all you talk out the tential dirder in the white house, from my experience there's a lo disorder in large govent instituons L time, right therare rivalsithin those institutthere are people who are saying you ow this, grge, as we. There are people tryin do, to separate O wt is happening here from maybe what has always happened since T beginning when we Ta about potical organizations, right? Owhis is our foc on president trump because we believe that running a different kind of white house versus the reality that white use is a very difficult place to work, that there a lo competingnterests and some othin fact -- What's different here though and I'll B it to michellis not the portrait of the white hoe portrait of th president. I the ama white E. You D not concve op-ed like this and if somebody ever didyou would knowctly O cause there would be most one or two peoe capable of it, and look aes these twreof themselves an attempt to obstruct justice, to place rable political pressure on the justice department think everyone knows that if sed, if yohad Obama out there twng that holds to go easy ATS who Haen because ite midterm elti, you know, Chris Christie and every Republican out there would howl for his im is that fair? No, it's not. Come on. Me finish veh the justice departmehan that. The justice department under Eric Holder and the justice department in the bush years for seven ars when TRE was a lot of political pressure because of before September 11th. Okhe way the people the justice department, Chris WRAY at the fbi,k at these things, I noise. 'S white noise, gege. The prident's tweepeople in laworcement W is white noise. That's xtraordina statement to call the president's tweet, the prent's Staten E. As it applies to law enforcement matters, he not the right trect people on criminal matters. The PEOP who are rpo for executing that job -- it er, Jon. He said Jeff should investigate.matter wheth thinks. Do ink it's rig Of course it's N right, stephae, but my is is, it's not going to affect policbecause thpeople who in the responsible positions and I these people, I servedh rod roseteinfohis years. I served with Chris WRAY and ris WRAY aed as my lawye they'rnog to respond to this stuff. It is unfortunate, but it's white noise to them.they're gog W their D, by the way, the inctments of these Republican congressmen are a per examof that. Th knew the president wasn't going to R well to ts. Yet, you kif you're ING to indict a member of congress, that highest lels of the Stice department, the deputy attorney general oattorney general himself signed off on those indictments. They're not being affected by the white noise the twee

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

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