Transcript for Dowd: Democrats 'can't get ahead of their skis' on Russia investigation
We have a lot to talk about now on our "Roundtable." Joined by Matthew dowd, democratic congressman Keith Ellison. The deputy chair of the DNC. Christopher ruddy, news max CEO, and democratic strategist Stephanie cutter. What a dizzying ten days it's been since the president fired James Comey. Where are we now in this presidency? A week like no other. Coming from a presidency first 100 days like no other from an election like no other. My guess is, next Sunday, we'll sit here and say, wow, can you believe what just happened this week? I think we're in a marathon phase. It's important for everyone to understand that. Now, we have a special counsel, Robert Mueller, who will take this wherever he takes it. It's not about the tree of Russia or collusion, he'll go for all the root systems. I don't think we should underestimate what the house committee and the senate excite te could do or reveal. During watergate, and I'm not comparing the two, it was a special counsel and the house committee and senate committee did extensive research. Thae revealed much of what came out of water gate was revealed in the house and senate committees. It does appear this showdown with James Comey will come sooner than later. He'll speak to the senate intelligence committee, some time, it appears, in June. And he's got notes of every encounter with the president. The president threatened him with tapes. How does the president survive that? Legal experts I have spoken to, Alan Dershowitz, said there is no obstruction. He had a right to speak to the FBI director. I think the press is criminalizing it. I think it's weird. The president's instinct about letting Comey go is right. This memo proves pit SNP. What memo proves it? The details of the leak. We haven't seen the memo yet of director Comey's conversation with the president. That's reason to fire him? Well -- I think it's about his instinct that you can't trust the FBI director. Isn't it a little strange the FBI director has a private conversation with the president, instead of saying to the president, Mr. President, you're new to this job. You're not a legal law enforcement guy, what you're saying is inappropriate to me, speak to your white house counsel and the justice department about how the approach this. Instead, he goes back to his office, writes a member me to himself, sticks it in a file, supposedly he did this for every meeting. What was the purpose? If he thought the president was doing something inappropriate, he should have sproek spoken to the president about it then gone to his attorney general. What I think the president -- president trump doesn't understand is that the FBI director is not meant to be loibl to that president. That's the reason they serve ten-year terms. And it's unusual for a president to ask for a one-on-one meeting with the FBI director. And, even the president asked other people to leave the room in those encounters. It's a very common practice in a situation like that to go back to your office, write down what happened, to ensure that you remember the facts correctly. It's a prosecutorial process. If he thought the president was doing something inappropriate, he should have immediately -- Is that any reason to discount what was said? That's a leaked comment. So many stories, fake news stories are becoming fact here. Where in the Russian investigation was there ever an allegation that the president did anything wrong with the Russians. We have this major investigation and there's no evidence. And it's his justice department that appointed a special counsel because they see the problem. I have just been on the trail talking to people all over the country. I was just in okayilahoma. And to them, it's like, yeah, they're concerned about the the Russian thing. But also the health care debate. Repealing Dodd frank. The whole piece of it is what people are focused on. What's the real story as opposed to this week's mess? All this stuff just looks to people like it's crazy. Chaotic. I'm going to show up at my congressman's meeting and be part of this upsurge of democracy. This is all going to unfold. We will learn and have learned a lot more. That's part of this that I think is important to understand. When we look forward on this, Donald Trump has been a victim of his own errors in every step of the way. This is not -- all of these things have come out. You can blame FBI director Comey for saying he should have ton this, should have done that. It was created by what Donald Trump did. Somebody leaked a thing about Mike Flynn. This is somebody Donald Trump hired. All of these things are unforced errors. Interceptions. It's like Johnny Manziel. Saying, why is everybody talking about me? Well, because you keep doing it. Chris ruddy, you're seeing the same complaints from inside the white house. You know that the leaks with the bane of the president's exsis tense. They're saying, we don't know how the handle this. The president is the problem. Is the shornstein center, study of the press coverage of the trump administration to date. They said 80% negative coverage. Look at the language from their report. Never had there been anything like this. Matthew and Stephanie have been involved. He's not a victim. That's because they're covering the news. There hasn't been anything positive. A week ago, the Chinese opened their markets to U.S. Businesses. Presidents have been trying to do it for 30 years. Donald Trump did this in three months. He also had other problems. Keith, you represent people in Michigan. Minnesota. Minnesota, I'm sorry. A very mid western state. Don't you think that people there are seeing that jobs are important? The president's made this a prior to. You wouldn't know that watching the press. We're looking at his budget coming out. We saw the skinny budget. He's about to decimate people who voted for him. He's going to cut the appalachian regional council. I'm shocked, he said Saudi Arabia and I get along great with all of them. They by apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million, I'm supposed to dislike them. He's in Saudi Arabia. We're supposed to celebrate that. It's back to him trying to cash in on being the president of the United States. He's just bought tens of thousands of jobs with that arms deal. All they're doing is reporting on what is going on. If that happens to be 80% or 90% negative. The press is driving the narrative here. No. Anything that -- Donald Trump's missteps -- Anything good that Donald Trump -- He steps on. No, you don't want to report on it. I think there's a balance. Criticizing the president is fine. Some of the things he has done are not right. He'll be on a learning serve. The president still has the same voters that voted for him say they would still vote for him now. Let me do a thought experiment. You talked about ten days ago we should have been talk about the opening up of the Chinese beef markets to America. At the same time, the president fired his FBI director. The entire staff came out for 24 hours, giving one reason for the firing. 24 hours later, the president gave a separate reason for the firing, saying he had Russia on his mind. How are we supposed to ignore that? They need to synchronize their messages in the white house. It's a new presidency. This is not the first time that presidential administrations have had messaging problems. This is not a -- Why didn't the press report on all the Democrats that called for Comey's resignation a few months prior? That was not part of the narrative. George, sthat a red herring. Chuck Schumer said he should be fired. We're raising this problem with Comey's firing because Comey was investigating him. This is not about like Comey, don't like Comey. This is about the guy who is investigating you for colluding with a foreign hostile power to undermine our elections, your fire the guy? To the country that is undermining the elections? This is outrageous. You have to focus on why we're raising these issues. It's about what he did and the firing. And working in a white house on a Normal day is, on a 1 to 10 scale, it's a 10 in terms of tension. Under this current white house, I can't imagine what those staffers are going through. It's not a synchronization of message. It's a synchronization of truth. The president completely did a 180 on them. I talked to people at the white house. They're frustrated by the negative press coverage. And they don't know when the president is going to tweet next. No president in American history has undergone these issues. The last person to say there was a witch hunt. You know who that was? Richard Nixon. The last person with the same message, the same thing that happened, and when we look at this, the leakers actually helped mark felt helped bring down a president who was a corrupt person in office that did many things. Let's not talk about the press. The only thing the press is doing, they have their faults. They're reporting facts on what this president says and does and what his white house says and does. Think the Democrats have to be very careful. They can't get ahead of their ski. The American public wants this to unfold. They're very concerned about what Donald Trump is doing. If the Democrats get too far ahead of their skis, the American public is going the back up. They want the facts to lead are wr they should. You saw congressman Cummings talking about that. Is this mired in politics? Absolutely. We can't make this investigation a political process. I think the senate intelligence committee is handling it in a bipartisan way. There's a special counsel investigation. There are multiple congressional investigations. Let's see what we learn. We're going learn something. I'm afraid that is going to have to Bo the last word. We'll be right back. And we'll
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