Return to Transcripts main page


U.S.-North Korea Relations; Pompeo Senate Confirmation; Romney Fails to Secure Utah GOP Nomination; The Trump Effect on the GOP. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired April 22, 2018 - 08:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- you probably spend about 20 to 30 seconds per body part. People can do it too much. If they're on there for like 20 minutes. You don't want to damage the muscle tissue or the connective tissue.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not an activity that feels wonderful on your body. It's kind of intense. But, I find that after you're done and you spend a little bit of time on the sore spots, it's amazing the release that you get.




JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: President's lawyer feels the squeeze.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are Michael Cohen swift? Are you worried the Trump loyal?

KING: As James Comey makes his case.

JAMES COMEY, FMR FBI DIRECTOR: I'm consistent since the very beginning right after my encounters with President Trump.

KING: Plus, a dramatic promise from North Korea, no more nuclear tests.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: We have come a long way with North Korea. We put unbelievably powerful sanctions on and many other things.

KING: And it's feisty out there for Republicans even in the reddest of red states.

MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) SENATOR MAJORITY LEADER: I don't pay a whole lot of attention to these primaries. We'll wait and see who the nominee is and get behind a Republican candidate. And hopefully it will be one who's actually alike.

KING: INSIDE POLITICS, the biggest stories sourced by the best reporters now.


KING: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King. To our viewers in the United and around the world, thank you for sharing your Sunday. A busy week to talk about. The President worried about the investigation of his personal lawyer and angry that everywhere he turns he sees this.


COMEY: I think he has an emptiness inside of him and a hunger for affirmation I've never seen in an adult. Instead of calling -- making hard decisions by calling upon a religious tradition or logic or tradition or history it's all what will fill this hole.


KING: Plus, another international leader with trouble back home comes calling. Will France's Macron fare better than Japan's Abe.


TRUMP: We put tariffs on and I would look forward to being able to at some point in the future take them off. But right now, we have a deficit that's a minimum of $69 billion a year.


KING: And there is plenty of skepticism. But, North Korea promises two big concessions as the White House prepares for what would be a historic Trump-Kim summit.


TRUMP: As you know I will be meeting with Kim Jong-un in the coming weeks to discuss the de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula. Hopefully that meeting will be a great success and we're looking forward to it.


KING: With us this Sunday to share their reporting and their insights Margaret Talev of Bloomberg, CNN's Manu Raju, Michael Warren of the "Weekly Standard" and Politico's Ellana Johnson.

To those hopeful new promises for North Korea and the understandable skepticism at the White House in a moment.

But we begin this Sunday with a President on edge even as he brings in new legal star power. James Comey is everywhere giving interviews to sell his book even as Congress leaks his memos about what he thinks or troubling conversations with President Trump. The President isn't happy, the former FBI director is getting so much attention. President's Twitter feed makes that abundantly clear.

But his talk of Michael Cohen perhaps turning state's witness that has the President more riled up in private and in public. Friends who have spoken to the President in recent days use words like fury and steamed to describe his mood about the Federal investigation of his long time personal lawyer and fixer. That anger was abundantly evident in Saturday tweets attacking a detailed "New York Times" report that included this. For years, Mr. Trump treated Mr. Cohen poorly, with gratuitous insults, dismissive statements and at least twice threats of being fired.

Trump critics say they understand the President's anxiety about Cohen.


REP. DENNY HECK, (D) INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: We ought to construct the Michael Cohen flip index. And on a scale from 1 to 100, determine not the likelihood that he'll flip, but the number of years of sentencing he is facing and the point at which he will flip. If he confronts between 10 and 15 years in jail then he is going to sing like a canary.


KING: That's a Democrats perspective there. But it is talking to President's anger, when he sees the cable conversation about this Michael Cohen going to flip.

So much happened this past week related to the investigation, it's hard to try to cover it all. But let's try appear (ph) the context. Why is the President so on edge? If you look at the "New York Times" story he lashed out it yesterday, as very detailed in its sourcing, and very good reporting by one of the best reporters whose covers the White House and the President then attacks it on Twitter. Almost pretending doesn't know the reporter Maggie Haberman, one of her colleagues tweeted out a picture of her with him in the Oval Office.

But it's the last part about it. He says he's worried about Michael Cohen perhaps flipping, if it means lying or making up stories. Sorry, I don't see Michael doing that despite the horrible witch hunt and the dishonest media. This one is under the President's skin.

[08:05:04] ELLANA JOHNSON, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, POLITICO: That's absolutely true. But I think we don't have evidence yet that Michael Cohen is being investigated by the southern district of New York for any crime related to work he performed for President Trump. So, I think we're in a speculate -- we're speculating right now, and I think it would be important to establish that he is being investigated for work performed while working for Trump, first of all. I think all the evidence actually suggests otherwise is that the crimes he committed were for businesses yet on the side and then his legal work was sort of secondary and he had very few clients.

KING: But that's what makes it so interesting --


KING: -- you know, the sense that -- in the sense that is not just us do the speculating, when you talk the President calling friends and asking these questions and people around the President, he keep talking about will Michael flip. Well you only flip -- I mean you'll -- you only care if there is incriminating evidence.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But, I think the ultimate question is going to be what evidence does the judge allow to be used by the prosecution from the raid of Michael Cohen's offices, his home, his hotel room. What exactly they're allowed to bring forward and whether that mean of that implicates the President anyway. We do know that Michael Cohen's attorneys try to get that thrown that, try to use limit the scope of the President too, and his legal team for the limit the scope of what evidence they could use.

But this going to take some time, its going to take some time to the words (ph) of the court system to decide probably not to before the end of next month. So, this is not hang over, the President see for at least another months, if not longer, President determining how much evidence they ultimately allowed to use and what the evidence shows.

MARGARET TALEV, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, BLOOMBERG: What has been at the core of the Mueller probe and then what is of core interest of all of us and around the table the Americas were following this is -- the extent of which there was Russian interference in the election and extend to which anyone in the Trump orbit, organizationally had any connection to that.

But as we all know the boundaries of what a special counsel can do go much further than that. And part of what's so frustrating to the President is that it is his feeling or his concern that everyone is out to get him and will get him on anything. And we have nothing to do with Russia, we have nothing to do with a business deal, some tax thing on the side, the tax -- what if someone has got a tax returns and they come out and all of this.

And so, it's not knowing where the boundaries end and knowing that Michael Cohen has been with him through decades.

KING: And to that point, the President keeps saying I want this shut down. The Michael Cohen investigation actually taken away from the special counsel and handed over to federal prosecutors in New York. So, the President wants it close instead, now we have two --

RAJU: Yes.

KING: -- two federal investigations --

TALEV: One that can't (INANUDIBLE)

KING: -- that involve people -- that involved people -- that involved people very close to the President. He can't get much close to Michael Cohen. One of the other big headlines this past week was Rudy Giuliani to the rescue. Former New York City mayor, coming into take a lead role in the President's legal team, has a relationship with Bob Mueller that dates back decades. They were both federal prosecutors at the same time. Mayor Giuliani it was through the horrific experience of 9/11 was in New York. Bob Mueller was the new FBI director at that time. He seems to think he can sit down with Bob Mueller and say OK, what are your issues? What do you need, let's close this thing down. Is he the only one who thinks that? MICHAEL WARREN, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, eventually one of these Trump lawyers is going to be right about this, right. It will be a couple of weeks. No, but I think this is another example of the President wanting people around him and then this particular case on his legal team that make him feel comfortable, that sort of maybe even tell him things that he might want to hear, but may not reflect sort of the reality. And that truth is we just -- we simply don't know how much longer and I don't think Rudy Giuliani has any sort of inside information and tells him how much longer this is going to go.

Now, could he start negotiating something that this other Trump lawyers weren't able to do? Perhaps. I just -- I have a little skepticism that that relationship that Giuliani have with Bob Mueller decades ago, is going to be very fruitful beyond maybe -- it will slightly more pleasant to the old special counsel.

KING: One thing that seems different this Sunday compared to just last Sunday and certainly two or three Sundays ago though, is that most people even around the President, think even though this is a tough business to predict the President, that he is less likely now to make a run and do the firing Mueller or Rod Rosenstein the deputy attorney general. In part because Rudy Giuliani's new top lawyer, has aid so many complimentary things about Bob Mueller, that we won't -- don't need a special counsel investigation, I wish it weren't there. But if you're going to have a special counsel Bob Mueller is a man of integrity and a man of character. He should be the guide to do it. This is one of the questions put their President this week. He didn't answer definitively, but even here it sounds like he's less likely to do it.


TRUMP: They have been saying I'm going to get rid of them for the last three months, four months, five months. And they are still here. So we want to get the investigation over with, done with, put it behind us.


KING: And one of the interesting new wrinkles, number one I think Rudy Giuliani gets a little period of grace here. Let's see which -- seat down with Bob Mueller see what he can do. Number two, the "Washington Post" reporting this, this is interesting, that Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently told the White House he might have to leave his job if the President fired his Deputy Rod J. Rosenstein. The senior administration official said Sessions, is not like the way Rosenstein has been treated by the President, and had expressed such concerns for month.

[08:10:03] So again do we know the President is not happy with his attorney general but that would be a public -- not only public relations debacle, but a political debacle if the President may have run it one and then the boss left.

TALEV: Yes, there are two other pieces to consider though. One is that Rosenstein is solving -- he's trying to give some assurances -- the President has given assurances that he is not in fact at least doesn't (INAUDIBLE) the target of all of this, right. But the second is that -- that's only true as long as -- the President's assurances are only true as long as it is true. And we heard that Rex Tillerson was still around until all of the sudden he was totally not around.

And so -- but as exact moment the President's calculations of the White House is that there is more upside to acting magnanimous on there as to do anything that could trigger some serious (INAUDIBLE).

RAJU: And Rosenstein has been pretty shrewd and how he's handling Capitol Hill, the pressure that he's getting from House Republicans in particular has been providing some documents to alleviate some those concerns. I mean, a few weeks ago, there was talk of holding him in content and impeaching him. Now, in light (ph) of he -- you know, he is the one who allowed the Comey memos to come forward, to be sent to Capitol Hill at the request of Republicans. So, he is allowing some of those critics at least to back off for now, for a while.

KING: And to the point about the critics, James Comey up into the release of the book and now the release of his memos, I was viewed by most people as a threat to the President. And the former FBI director took copious notes, cooperating with the special counsel, we'll see where the special counsel investigation goes, that's what's most important, the things we go other than in private. But, in the court of public opinion, Comey in the eyes of most and I think I agree is has hurt himself this week, by getting in a petty battle with the President over the size of his hands, the length of his ties, the tanning, allowing Trump critics -- allowing Trump critics who think all of this is a farce to say this guy got a bias against the President.

JOHNSON: Not only that, but I think he also hurt himself by the fact that his memos, they make Trump -- they reinforce the impression of Trump that I think a wide swath of the American public already has. But they don't disclose anything we didn't already know and they don't disclose anything clearly criminal or damming. He himself wouldn't even go so far to say that President Trump obstructed justice. And I think that by enlarge helps the President even if that confirms the negative things that we already know about him.

KING: It's the double track (ph) paradox we live in, the public debate about these things, and then all the stuff going on the investigations that we don't know about, hopefully someday we will.

Up next, the President Trump, we know he values personal diplomacy, but there are limits. Japan's prime minister got a round of golf. But no help with tariffs, the French president, I'm here to test that next, in the week ahead.

But first remembering Barbara Bush. The former first lady, laid to rest yesterday, her son Jeb here sharing some of the lessons learned from the woman they lovingly sometimes call the enforcer.


JEB BUSH, BARBARA BUSH'S SON: We learned not to take ourselves too seriously. We learn that humor is a joy that should be shared. We learn to strive to be genuine and authentic by the role model in the word. For authentic plastic pearls, for not coloring her hair, by the she was beautiful until the day she died. Her hugging of an HIV aids patient at a time when her own mother wouldn't do it. Her standing by her man with a little rhyming poetry in the 1984 election. And a thousand other ways Barbara Pierce Bush was real and that's why people admired her and loved her so.



[08:17:10] KING: Welcome back. It's a big week ahead, two key U.S. allies visiting the White House this week. One of them is getting a state dinner. President Emmanuel Macron of France has gone out of his way to impress President Trump. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany has not. So Macron gets the first state dinner of the Trump presidency a reward you might say for inviting the Trumps of that steel day to dinner at top the Eiffel Tower. And of course who can forget for his part in the handshake?

We think eventually they would let go. The two Presidents have this in common, tough political climates at home. Macron steering clear here when asked about President Trump's troubles.


EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE: Here in this office I'm not the one to judge and in certain way to explain your people what should be your President or to consider because of this investigation. Your President is less credible.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Do you ever wonder whether he will serve his full term?

MACRON: I never wonder that.


KING: Yes, it's a remarkable question. Chris Wallace put to an international leader counting (ph), because this President is under investigation (ph) Macron steering clear. We saw last week, number one, personal diplomacy works with the President. His very close in his words, in his action, but with Prime Minister Abe of Japan for example, they had a round of golf in Mar-a-Lago, but -- but there are limits. Prime Minister Abe got pretty much nothing of what the big things he wanted from the President. Macron wants the President to stay in the Iran nuclear deal.


KING: To get back in the Paris Climate Accords. Is there any reason to believe even though he like Abe has played the played -- Trump play book almost perfectly. Is there any reason to believe the President is going to give him what he wants? TALEV: No. No, there are reasons why the President may consider some version of staying in the Iran deal. But they probably don't hinge on a personal relationship with Emmanuel Macron. If they did the U.S. would be back in the Paris deal by now also. Macron feelings are really important to President Trump. But when we talk to world leaders from any other country including Europe, they all say Macron is like, there is one or two guys who can talk to Trump like that. And make an impression on him. And he's of them.

So he is important, but from all the folks I talked to behind the scenes inside the White House, National Security Council, State Department and so on and so forth, it is not going to hinge on what Emmanuel Macron wants.

RAJU: I think, you know, we see time and again with Trump is meeting not just with foreign leaders, but members of Congress and he's meetings, a very personable, he sort of suggests that he is willing to do what they want on a wide range of issues even suggesting, you know, who ask couple of weeks, perhaps getting back into TPP, you know, things that would be shocking to candidate Trump who ran against those issues.

[08:20:06] But we'll see if he actually follows up with any of the things that he may suggest he is may suggest he is open to with Macron with actual action. I mean that's the ultimate question after this (INAUDIBLE)

JOHNSON: Yes, I think that's a great point. Foreign policy analyst pointed out to me, you know, Trump sometimes has bad phone calls. We saw the transcripts leaked earlier in his administration of phone calls with prime minister of Australia, and the president of Mexico, because he had bad meetings. His meeting always go well. We saw him do 180 degree pivot on gun control. I mean his meeting with Democrats. And so, I think he is likely to tell Macron that he is open to a lot of things that he isn't actually open to. So, I think this meeting with Macron is likely to go well, but he is unlikely actually to concede anything to him in the long run.

KING: Is it just because Macron is a relatively new President of the France? It's the economy in the receptions. Macron gets dinner and tour of Mt. Vernon, and Oval Office meeting, he's going to Arlington for a wreath laying, he gets state dinner. He's also addressing the Congress.

Angela Merkel who is the more senior leader in Europe. Angela Merkel who's knew a, bigger economy, b, again she's been around longer, she has viewed sort of as the senior player with how do we deal with Putin, how do we deal with other big issues. She gets the meeting now, she's also made -- much more public about her disagreements with the President. Is that what this is about?

WARREN: Yes, this is sort of a personal thing. I mean, Angela Merkel had sort of represents kind of western liberalism, small and liberalism that in many ways Trump ran against. You can point to her policy on Syria nor not always Syrian refugees coming into Europe as sort of something that, to me was animated a lot of what eventually became the Trump movement and similar movements across Europe as well.

I mean, Macron is sort of sweet, generous (ph). You see he is somebody who comes independently. You know, he obviously came from one of the parties there but he comes in this in many way, very similarly to Trump is saying almost above party or separate from party. And I think in many ways, that is something that the two men have in common in ways that Merkel and Trump are really completely different plan.

KING: Very different sets of issues. But both President Macron and President Trump have domestic political concerns they're dealing with that will make it interesting. Both the title look to get something out of this meetings. It also comes at a time where we see some turmoil and turnover in the Trump foreign policy team. John Bolton the new national security adviser coming in, he's viewed as more hawkish on the issues, so especially the Iran trade deal. And you have the public spat this week between the woman who we thought was the star of the Trump foreign policy team, Nikki Haley who sending a message back to the White House, and I just love this quote, "With all due respect, I don't get confused. With all due respect, I don't get confused".

This is over the idea that last Sunday she said there were new sanctions coming against Russia and then the President pulled the plug on that. They said it was a mix up. But she things, she got roll. Does this have any impact on the meetings that you have a little turmoil and new faces?

JOHNSON: Actually I think just take a step back that the foreign policy team is going to look a bit different with assuming Mike Pompeo gets confirmed. You're going to have considerably more hawkish team with Pompeo, Bolton, Haley, those three get along. And I think Mattis used to have Rex Tillerson, secretary of defense humanities, to have Rex Tillerson as a strong ally in these meetings. And he is going to be a little bit more isolated. He's been a voice for caution in the debate over what to do in Syria. He was an advocate --

KING: Iran deal as well.

JOHNSON: -- for -- yes, for a smaller bombing. And he was victorious in that debate. But it will be interesting in this debate over the Iran deal and in the North Korean negotiations, you know, how these things play out.

TALEV: We are seeing Bolton start to bring in his own national security team, of the initial word that they said out was, he's not going to make media changes, like three days later there were a series of media changes and the deputy that he's just named is a former Boeing executive, former Pentagon and transition team official who the back story is and had a lot of tensions in terms of -- with Mattis and appointee. So we'll see whether this is Bolton challenging Mattis or whether that is old news and everyone is on the same team, but a lot to watch there.

KING: That's going to be tested. France coming, Germany coming, North Korea talks the -- the segue. Up next, North Korea said it's ready to stop nuclear and missile tests. Is it a bluff or proof the President's hard line is getting results?



[08:28:39] TRUMP: North Korea best not make anymore threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury.

Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.

Rocket man should have been handled a long time ago. But, I'm going to handle it because we have to handle it.


KING: President's critics didn't like that tough talk in recent months, but a stunning announcement on North Korean state television this weekend. Kim Jong-un is prepared he says, to stop testing nuclear weapons and stop testing intercontinental ballistic missiles. The rationale given on state TV, is that advances in North Korean military capabilities are now verified. But it is a dramatic overture as Kim preparations for a face to face meetings this week with South Korea's president and his preparations continue for a planned Trump- Kim summit in May or June.

There are plenty of skeptics. North Korea, has broken passed promises and cheated on passed agreements. But, President Trump does see progress and wants to test those promises face-to-face.


TRUMP: If we don't think it is going to be successful mark, we won't have it. We won't have it. If I think that it's a meeting that is not going to be fruitful we are not going to go. If the meeting when I'm there is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting. I like always remaining flexible and we'll remain flexible here. I've got to this point.


[08:30:12] KING: Wait, that's hard to describe how widespread the skepticism is. You'll find it in every agency across the government. You'll find it in Democrats and Republicans. You will find it in every foreign policy think tank in town.

Will they cheat? Is it a bluff? Do they just want sanctions relief? But -- but the leader of North Korea went on state television in his country and said I'm willing to give the United States essentially some of the big concessions that the President wanted before heading into this meeting. Now you're going to test it.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And you know, it still stops short of what the administration wanted initially which is a full denuclearization of this country. And there are a lot of choices and things that the North Koreans are saying or pretty similar to what they were saying in the past.

So to me the question also is whether or not the North Korean coming in, in a position of strength or weakness. In some ways you can argue they are coming in, in a position of strength. They're the ones who are testing the hydrogen bomb test last year, they had multiple missile tests and they brought the United States to the table.

In some ways the President getting this forum with the President of the United States and also previously now we know with the CIA director, secretary of state nominee Mike Pompeo. This is something that they would not have gotten in the past. So what ultimately does the United States get in return? And then whether can you actually enforce this agreement. Still a lot of questions.

KING: A lot of questions -- some may be answered this week when you have the North Korea/South Korea dialogue which hasn't happened in more than a decade. So even just that's interesting and the deals broken in the past were by Kim Jong-un's father.

But it's the first time he's sort of at center stage in this agreement so that draws an interesting take. I just want to show you the start of the deal, you know, giving President Clinton some credit here and of course, as always Hillary Clinton's picture on the front page of "Drudge" -- "Start of the deal: North Korea missile test".

There's an important change here -- one of the more thoughtful analysts on the issue who says, you know, yes this is probably because of some of the President's hard line but also Kim Jong-un comes with a big ask.


GORDON CHANGE, NORTH KOREA EXPERT: President Trump has shown that he is not going to allow anyone to upstage him. You know, you have a new national security adviser who has talked about actually attacking North Korea when he was at Fox News.

So you have all sorts of events that are unnerving Kim Jong-un. And by the way, he needs sanctions relief because it is pretty clear that the U.N. sanctions, U.S. sanctions are now starting to constrict the flow of money to Kim which means he needs cash. That means he's got to talk to Trump.

KING: And the question is does the President give him something without getting everything? In the sense that the President wants total denuclearization -- a deal under which you totally take the nuclear weapon systems out. You have verifiable inspections, you take away missile programs.

What Japan is worried about, for example, is that you get them to stop testing intercontinental ballistic missiles and you're going to keep talking about the other stuff, but then you give them some sanctions relief and then you keep the medium range missiles in place and things like that. MICHAEL WARREN, SENIOR WRITER, "THE WEEKLY STANDAR": Yes. That's

right. I mean besides what a meeting with the President of the United States and these other meetings that Kim is having, the legitimacy that that confers on Kim, you know, on his regime.

The only thing that Kim cares more about is his nuclear program because of what that means for him and for his country, a country that he feels very besieged and he feels like he needs to have this nuclear program.

So I think there is a lot of reason here to be very, very skeptical and I think even within the Trump administration there is a lot of skepticism even as they are preparing for this meeting that, you know, as Reagan said trust but verify -- they're sort of taking a verify first and then let's see where we go from there.

MARGARET TALEV, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, Bloomberg: And yes, talking to keep talking has a purpose in and of itself. I know that's not the posture the President has really been championing. But for a lot of people in the foreign policy community just being able to have some kind of resumption of dialogue that staves off, you know, sort of tests and acts of aggression has a value in and of itself.

I think you're right that validating Kim is the biggest gift the President can give. In exchange there are three Americans being held by the North Koreans. That is an important, not a significant part of these talks associated (ph) it's something that this administration --

KING: Yes. The question is do cracks come up? Let's say the South Korean meeting goes well. Do South Koreans say, you know what, they are at the table? The dialogue let's ease the question. Let's give them a little food aid. Let's do this. That's the question. Do the cracks turn up and then what does the President of the United States do.

You mentioned this a bit earlier. One of the dynamics here is will the President have a secretary of state when he goes there? It looks like he will.

It looks like, you know, Heidi Heitkamp, the first Democrat to come out and say she will vote for Mike Pompeo. She says that she believes the President should have his team. There are also political reasons for that. She's in a reelection battle in a state the President won by 30 plus points there.

You see these other Trump state Democrats there -- most of them say they are still undecided. But is this enough math or are we still waiting on Jeff Flake? Rand Paul is a no. He's going to meet with Mike Pompeo one more time. Jeff Flake is still undecided. Is Heidi Heitkamp enough or do we still -- is there still one or two more needed to get Mike Pompeo the --

[08:34:56] RAJU: I think she is probably enough. And I think there's going to be some other Democrats. I bet Joe Manchin will vote for him and Joe Donnelly will vote for him, as well, excuse me. Now all you need is one Democrat to break ranks if all Republicans besides Rand Paul vote for Pompeo to be confirmed. But still, this is going to be significant. Tomorrow will be the first time that we know of that the Senate is drawing (INAUDIBLE) where the secretary of state nominee does not get a favorable vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

He is going to get an unfavorable recommendation from the Foreign Relations Committee. Nevertheless they're going to use procedural maneuvers in the Republican leadership move him to the floor and almost certainly get confirmed on the floor. But it just shows you the parts and nature of the Senate and there's still a lot of controversy around this.

ELIANA JOHNSON, POLITICO: A lot of regrets about putting Rand Paul on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

KING: Regrets? Mitch McConnell? Never.

Up next the Trump effect on the GOP free trade gives way to tariffs. And the outrage of Ted Cruz gives way to the fawning of Ted Cruz.


KING: Let's just take a peak here at the cover of the latest "Economist". It asks the question with words and then answers it with images. This is Donald Trump's Republican Party now, like it or not. And the grass roots anti-establishment anger that Trump successfully tapped in the 2016 primary is still alive and well in 2018. Just ask Mitt Romney.

The 2012 Republican presidential nominee is now running for Senate in Utah and was forced into a primary last night because he failed to win enough support at the state party convention. Before the votes were counted Romney tried to answer the complaints of some party activist who view him as closer to the Washington, D.C. party establishment than to Utah conservatives.


MITT ROMNEY (R), UTAH SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Some people I have spoken with today have said this is a David versus Goliath race but they are wrong.

First, none of us is David. David was anointed of God. And second, I'm not Goliath. Washington, D.C. is Goliath.


KING: Nobody running to work in Washington, D.C. likes Washington, D.C. It's one of the most amazing things in the world to see out there in politics.

RAJU: And then they stay in Washington, D.C.

TALEV: They come back. KING: Look, Romney will have a primary now. It is most likely he will be the Republican nominee after that primary because you have much more conservative people at the caucuses and the convention than you do when the state votes in the primary.

But it again shows you just the tensions in the party that helped Donald Trump ride his way to nomination and then presidency still exit. Some of the anti-establishment stuff it is about Trump; some of it is about the establishment, it has nothing to do with Trump.

RAJU: Yes. This -- I found it surprising nevertheless of this being a hard core convention goers, typically they support the more conservative candidate. But he came in second -- I mean barely came in second.

And this was viewed in a lot of parts that he was just going to walk into office. Possibly Romney could have a fight on his hands. You think that the more broader electorate in the primary he probably should be ok. But it does show that you are a member in this environment. You're running. You're a candidate.

You can't take the electorate for granted. There is a lot of frustration and resistance on both sides to more establishment type candidates and members will take note.

KING: And it's a reminder that the disruptive climate -- again Trump rode the wave. He didn't create that wave but he rode it and then magnified it in many ways in 2016. We still have that out there.

We don't talk about the Democrats enough. It's in the Democratic primaries as well, but it's also in the Republican electorate. And you see the President stoking it every day. He's on Twitter already this morning. He is watching Fox News this morning.

"GOP lawmakers asking Sessions to investigate Comey and Hillary Clinton at Fox News. Good luck with that request." That's one of the things that makes Republicans in campaign worry every day. What is he going to do to stir up the environment?

The other thing is he is so different and disruptive for his own party. We see the complaints. Michael you've written about this -- everybody at the table, I think ha written a report on this. The angst from farm states and farm state Republicans.

Jonathan Martin was out in North Dakota, one of those Senate races that we're paying attention to this year. Listen to this -- this is a farmer who voted for Trump. "If he doesn't understand what he is doing to the nation by doing what he is doing he is going to be a one- term president, plain and simple," said Mr. Robert (INAUDIBLE), a fourth generation farmer who voted for Mr. Trump in North Dakota. The disruption of Trump and the rebranding of the Republicans from the free trade party, for the tariff is another one of these dynamics.

WARREN: Yes. I would say I would caution as we talk about this against reading too much into what happened to Romney at the convention because when it comes to the primary, and I could be proven wrong on this, I imagine he is going to win pretty handily in the Republican primary.

These are not -- Utah is a Republican state. It's not necessarily a very conservative state.

RAJU: Or a Trump state.


WARREN: That's right. It's much more of a mainstream Republican state.

And so the other side of this as well is that there is another side to the Republican Party that is not necessarily, of course, willing to pull the lever for Trump in 2016 because the alternative was Hillary Clinton.

But I think I'm going to be watching this as we go into 2018. Where is that other side that is not necessarily they're supportive of Trump? I think it's probably soft support for Trump? Where do they go? Are they active, as well? Or are they not active? Are they sort of disillusioned by their party? And how does that play out in this election.

KING: It's a great point because it's a choice every Republican has to make. Do you stand next to Trump, stand with Trump on everything? Do you want some separation? Do you want a lot of separation? Are you an anti-Trumper with in the Republican Party which you see some of?

[08:45:01] This to me is the most, shall I say, interesting relatively benign word, transformation in American politics.

Remember the 2016 primaries? Remember Ted Cruz? Remember Donald Trump saying the "National Enquirer" had a story? Ted Cruz's father might have been involved in the assassination of President Kennedy? President Trump talked about that. He tweeted at one point essentially saying Heidi Cruz was not attractive. Here is Ted Cruz 2016.


SENATOR TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Donald is a bully. This man is a pathological liar. The man cannot tell the truth but he combines it with being a narcissist. A narcissist at a level I don't think country's ever seen.

The man is utterly amoral. Donald Trump is a serial philanderer, real men don't try to bully women. It's an action of a small and petty man. I don't make a habit out of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my family.


KING: That was then. This is now. Ted Cruz in "Time" this week: "President Trump is a flash-bang grenade thrown into Washington by the forgotten men and women of America. The fact that his first year as Commander-in-Chief disoriented and distressed members of the media and political establishment is not a bug but a feature." Wow.

RAJU: He is up for reelection in 2018 this year. He needs those Trump supporters in his state for what is emerging. It's a pretty close race.

KING: Texas tough is his campaign team -- is that Texas tough?

JOHNSON: This is why people don't like and don't trust politicians, case in point.

KING: Case in point. Case in point.

Our reporters share from their notebooks next including more bad headlines for the Environment Protection agency chief, Scott Pruitt.


KING: Let's head one last time around the INSIDE POLITICS table, ask our great reporters to share a little something from their notebooks, help get you out ahead of the big political news just around the corner.


TALEV: I am keeping my eyes on all signs for what's going to happen on the Iran deal next week. We've talked about this a little bit but we know that between Macron's visit and Angela Merkel's visit Friday a lot of ground will be covered in terms of the European leaders trying to pave the way.

There's a couple of other things I watch for -- any phone calls from Theresa May, any interaction with the Israelis and the Saudis; perhaps the Chinese and any of that paperwork that the European political director's national security advisers have been trying to put together with the U.S., something to actually give the President to say can you stand by the deal if we give you this.

KING: And John Bolton wanting the last word in every one of those meetings.


RAJU: John -- behind the scenes President Trump's pick to be CIA director Gina Haspel's face. An array of questions from senators about her role in the 2005 episode of the destruction of those video tapes -- CIA video tapes that depict harsh interrogation techniques. Now she has not alleviated concerns from Republicans and Democrats alike on this committee.

She has said that she was simply ordered to carry out the destruction of the tapes. She wrote a cable that she said that she did not think they were going to be sent to these CIA field officers to destroy the tapes. She thought it was going to go to the proper channels.

But her superior at the time moved forward without her knowledge; the CIA trying to push back declassifying sections of a report from 2011 to say that she did nothing wrong. But nevertheless members still have a lot of questions. They want more records declassified and there's going to be a big sticking point to have confirmation hearing next month to determine whether or not she gets the job.

KING: One of several confirmation battles to watch.


WARREN: We are in the middle of this public comment period for the tariffs on China that the administration is proposing. And publicly the White House is saying look, these are a tool, a means to an end in order to get China to behave properly. Fair but free trade -- free but fair trade, that's the line publicly.

But there is a view within the White House, Peter Navarro is sort of the loudest voice in the White House on this that tariffs are actually good as a good -- that they can help reduce foreign investment and increase domestic investment.

That is not a view held by the vast majority of people in the White House. There is one issue here which is that it is a view that one very important person is receptive to and that's President Trump.

KING: Navarro and Trump versus the globalists as the President likes to call them.

WARREN: That's right.


JOHNSON: I'm back on Scott Pruitt watch. We reported at Politico on Friday that contrary to Pruitt's public denials that the lobbyist who was giving him a cut rate deal on rent had any business before the EPA during the time that he was living in the home owned by him. The lobbyist's firm filed a report on Friday that indicated that that lobbyist was lobbying the EPA during that time.

Pruitt looks like caught in another difficult situation at a time that his leadership of the agency is already under scrutiny. Not sure how long this can last. But as you mentioned, John, the Trump administration already has three nominees before the senate that need confirmation so it would be really difficult for them to add a fourth.

KING: It would be difficult to add a fourth that's not exactly draining the swamp example at the EPA.

I'll close with this. There is a lot of grumbling among senior Republicans about the midterm elections and this time it is not about President Trump, at least not directly anyway. The leadership for months has been imploring Republican candidates to raise more money because resources for ads and research and staff even more important when the political winds are in your face.

The new fundraising reports out this past week show way more Republicans on the short end of the money chase. The Senate GOP challenges in Missouri and North Dakota, for example, well behind the Democratic incumbents they had hoped to knock off this year.

[08:54:50] And then there is this. In the 88 house races CNN lists as the most competitive 40 Republican incumbents were outraised by Democratic challengers -- 40 incumbents outraised by Democratic challengers. By comparison only two Democratic incumbents trail their GOP challengers -- a lot of worries for the Republicans there.

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. Again, thanks for sharing your Sunday.

"STATE OF THE UNION" is up next. You don't want to miss it. Dana Bash sits down with counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway.

Have a great Sunday.



DANA BASH, CNN HOST: Breaking point -- President Trump lashes out at James Comey and suggests the special counsel's investigation is based on an illegal act.

[09:00:05] TRUMP: They won't find any collusion. It doesn't exist.

BASH: Is the President laying the groundwork to fire Robert Mueller?