Podesta: New chief of staff must 'get the president to be disciplined'

Former Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta talks the latest White house shake-up on and future of health care reform on "This Week."
5:35 | 07/30/17

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Transcript for Podesta: New chief of staff must 'get the president to be disciplined'
And I'm joined now by one of president trump's toughest critics. Former Clinton campaign chair John podesta. Let's move away from health care and start with the latest white house shakeup. Reince Priebus is out. John Kelly is in as chief of staff. You have worked for two administrations. Counsellor to president Obama, Bill Clinton's chief of staff. What does a change at the top like this mean for the white house as a whole? Well, Martha, look, it's an important move, I think, for the white house. I think -- general Kelly will have his hands full tomorrow morning when he starts work at the white house. He's got to really do three things. I think. One, is, to provide -- to end the chaos. To get some discipline in this white house. That will be exceedingly difficult to do, as Jonathan Karl mentioned because he has to get the president to be disciplined. He's shown no inclination to do that. He's got to restore strategic priority. Not just the Republican leadership. He needs to talk to Democrats as well. And third, and maybe the most difficult thing he needs to do, is -- and you might be surprised to hear me say this. I think he has to protect the justice department and Bob Mueller and the investigation going on there. From the continued assault by the president and by the white house. It's going to be his job to provide a bulwark against interference by the white house. At the end of the day, lit get them in more trouble than less. You know president trump has surrounded himself with generals. Mcmaster, Mattis, they're involved in national security. John Kelly doesn't have a whole lot of experience with this domestic stuff. How does he carry out that agenda? How successful do you think he'll be in what you're talking about? Jt you know, he's had a tremendous career. And offered great service to this country. But I think you're pointing out the -- a problem for him, which is that he's now in a political environment. It's not like generals aren't used to dealing in the politics of national security. He's in a very split dolitical environment. This is a white house that can't get its act together internally. It's at war internally with each other. What they have to show for it is one of the most unproductive starts to a presidency culminating in -- in the vote on health care this week. But if you look at the overall what's gone on in the first six months, they've really achieved nothing on the hill other than a few special interest giveaways, by rolling back a couple of obama-era regulations. And, the only legislation of substance that's passed has been something the white house opposed, the Russia sanctions bill. Philadelphia congress passed it. Glad they passed it overwhelmingly. I'm glad that the president is in a corner and has to sign it. That is not much of a production level. He has to kick that up. He comes in as a novice in that regard. So let's get back to that. You have criticized the trump administration for not having anyone around him who will say, no, Mr. President. Do you think John Kelly will say, no, Mr. President? I do actually. I think that he will he has -- I have no doubt that the president has told him that he has full authority. The real question is will he allow him to exercise it. That means will he accept the discipline that general Kelly will try to impose on the Anthony scaramuccis and the Steve bannons and the Jared kushners and the rest. Will the president back him up? Or keep his door open to having all these characters kind of coming in and coming out? And then the toughest problem, I think, is will -- can he discipline the president? It wasn't an auspicious start yesterday when the president went on a Twitter rant against senate Republicans for failing to pass a health care bill that was going to throw millions and millions of people off of health care. So just quickly, Mr. Podesta, why do you think the president chose John Kelly? I think he likes tough people. I think he's developed a rapport with him. I think Kelly has done what the president asked him to do at dhs. It's not always been things I've agreed with. But he's at least executed and shown himself to be a disciplined leader. But I think that's a very different matter than someone two H who has to naf fwat all the cross-currents of domestic politics, capitol hill, and dealing with a president who just can't throw his phone away and stop tweeting. This morning, he -- he -- his response to the launch in north Korea was to kind of blame the Chinese for not fixing things over Twitter. I don't think a bunch of mean tweets are going to solve a problem. He's got to get a team in place that can do that. Thank you very much, Mr. Podesta.

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

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