Transcript for Vega: President Trump is 'maxing out' on base
??? oh say can you see ??? ??? by the dawn's early light ??? That was the scene just moments ago at this morning's first NFL game in London. Members of the jaguars and ravens, players, coaches, everyone a team owner, linking arms and taking a knee during the national anthem in response to president trump. We're joined by our powerhouse rbt rbt. Congressional correspondent Mary Bruce, ABC news senior white house correspondent Cecilia Vega. And Jake Sherman and Anna palmer, co-tlauthors of politico playbook. What are they thinking in the white house? I got off the phone from someone in the white house. They feel like most Americans will side with the president on -- in that most Americans they say want to see people stand during the national anthem. Think in some way, they will try to say behind the scenes this is helping him. I have to say, here we are. Once again. In the wake of charlottesville. And the president of the united States has yet again inserted himself into what will end up being a very horribly ugly discussion about race in the country. This is not about players versus the president. This is about race in the united States of America. And I think a lot of people, particularly minorities in the country, are going the hear what the president has said and see this as a very, very divisive tone. And we had secretary mnuchin say they have can free speech on their own time. I think it's fair. But a lot of people on capitol hill think the spt trying to pass a health care bill, tax care reform. A senate race in Alabama. He's elevating something that would have been con find to people's Sunday watching habits while drinking beer and eating bad food. And he's made this into a big national issue. He didn't have to do that. Ady traction. Really, I mean, once again, the president distracting from what is going to be really bad week for him. And doubling down. The third day in a row he's tweeting about that, commentinging on that. Mary, the president's approval is lowest of any president at the eight-month mark. Slightly up. 39% say they approve of the job president trump is doing. That's just up from July. You cover congress. What is he going to do with that? That's a good question. Where does he go from here? Everyone on capitol hill, Republicans and Democrats, are well aware of that number. As Jake and Anna are mentioning, they're hitting nine months into the administration without a single major legislative achievement. Republicans are trying their hard toast get one on the books. It's not looking very likely this morning. It comes as the president again is trying to distract. Veer the the national conversation back into this conversation about race, intolerance, politics, sports. Do you think he did that on purpose? In Alabama, I'm going to turn the conversation back to that? He knew what audience he was speaking to. The base, the base, the base. Now the conversation will continue and continue to dominate on capitol hill when they want to be talking about other things. I totally agree. He went into the speech on Friday, and there was language in it about the NFL. He went and said a lot more than what was in the speech originally. One of the numbers that jumps out at me in the poll is this idea that he's maxing out on his base. They're hitting a peak here. Their cap. The number of people who support this president dwindles in comparison to the strong critics he's got out there. 48% to 26%. He can reach out to the base. But how much further can he go with that? There's a positive number. 65% approve of the deal the president made with Democrats on hurricane funding and raising the the national debt ceiling. Does he seize that kind of number and go with that and try to go beyond the base? Clearly hasn't done that in the last few days. I think the question is, can they find an immigration deal to be cut. Just because the Democrats will cut some deals, iouldn't expect chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi saying, let's hold arms together, kumbaya moment. Let talk about health care. Senators graham and Cassidy talked about it. Very optimistically. Do you think it's all but dead? Yes, I do. I mean, I don't want to -- Thank you for the short answer, Jake. Yeah. Think we can take a poll right here. Anything could happen. There are senate Republicans and we have put this in this morning apt "Playbook" that are more optimistic to get it on the floor and get a process that would pass the bill. I think it's difficult. Three or four people have objections to core elements of the bill. Senator McCain, murkowski, noncommittal. Senator Collins. They oppose the guts of the bill. So many Republicans just want to move on from health care to tax reform. Something else. Health care is a leerz issue for them. They're not going to be able to figure it out. This was the major promise for seven years. Repeal and replace. What happens to the Republican IFS this goes down? If it does. We think the chances are high, they still have to get something done. And, it seems most likely at the end of the week, they could be where they were two weeks popping heading toward some kind of bipartisan fix. Both sides of the aisle know something has the to be done. Then it's a conversation about repairing Obamacare, not repealing and replacing. It's what McCain wants. Regular order. Open hearings. They want to fix the problem and move on to tax reform. And I want to move on to another issue. The Alabama election. Cecilia, you' were watching the speech. I wasn't sure by tehe end who he was courting? He was there for Luther strange. He sounded very conflicted, right. He said I might have made a mistake in endorsing this -- in some ways, he's in a weird position. He has his people in his own camp. Steve Bannon is going to Alabama tomorrow to endorse the other candidate. The speech was an hour and 20-plus minutes. Ill was all over the map. Some of it was about the Alabama race. The real test for the president is can he sway his base? A lot of people in the room where there to see the president who don't support strange. I think the big question is if Luther strange loses, it's a probable for Mitch Mcconnell. You have conserve fiatives try to go after incumbents. Mitch Mcconnell will have a problem. You did so well on that. You were so happy with my brevity. Mitch Mcconnell will have problems in the capital. If he wins, Mcconnell has problems keeping the lights on. Number two I don't -- if I'm Mitch Mcconnell and Paul Ryan, I don't want to see what Donald Trump does if he doesn't get health care through and loses the race in Alabama. He could run to Democrats again. That's a problem for Republicans who have campaigned for years of unified Republican governing in Washington. Going into 2018. The house is in play. The senate could be in play. If Moore does win, does he become a test? He's a staunch Christian conservative. Does every candidate get asked, do you agree with him? Not what the Republican leadership wants to be facing. Okay, something the trump administration doesn't want to face is this Russia investigation. And, Cecilia, this week, special council Mueller asked the white house for information about meetings the president himself had. How do you view this? What is going on there as far as you can tell? At meetings about the president had in the oval office with the Russians. There are 13 areas of interest they're seeking information on. Look. All we really know at this point is that this tells us that special counsel Mueller is -- his line of ink wirry is focused on the president and the people closest to him. We don't know that the president surnd investigation. I have talked to people in the white house. None of this sun expected. Everyone in the inner circle is expected to be talked to, interviewed. The fact that they have to hand over documents is zero surprise to them. On a week where we're talking about North Korea sorry, Alabama, all of these other things, this is the fist week this a long time where I remember Russia and the investigation was overshadowed by so many other things. Much to the happiness of the white house, I'm sure. Anna. There is that sort of drip, drip, drip of this. It keeps. Maybe under the radar this week quite a bit. But it keeps copping back. I think this is just going to be in constant problem for the white house. Hurricanes. It gets lower in the new. Mueller is aggressively going after this. It's an expectation that indictments could come soon. Thank you all of you for joining us. We'll be right back. Sage
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