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Top Issues for Democratic Voters in 2020 Election; Trump's Troubles: Promises that Won't Be Kept. Aired 8-9a

Aired March 10, 2019 - 08:00   ET




JOHN KING, HOST, ABC NEWS: Growing pains for the new majority, plans for a big policy week derailed by a big fight about prejudice.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), CA: Well I don't believe it was intended in an anti-Semitic way. I do not believe that she understood the full weight of the words.

KING: Plus another Trump insider is heading to prison as Democrats flex their new oversight powers.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I feel very badly for Paul Manafort, it's a collusion witch hoax.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our goal is to hold the administration accountable.

KING: And new 2020 numbers, Iowa votes first, and for all the talk of a fresh face, the early leaders are Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VT: Donald Trump must be defeated.

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 United States and around the world, thank you for sharing your Sunday. A big early test and family feud for the new Democratic majority and speaker Nancy Pelosi, a congresswoman who has made a series of anti- Semitic statements is just one member of a feisty and impatient freshman class.


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D), NY: It's a learning experience and it's - it's part of the fact that when we elect the most Democrat - the most diverse Democratic caucus that we have in pretty much ever.

It means that were - we have new communities at the table, new conversations that need to be had, and we need to learn how to have conversations differently every time.


Plus a war of words or lies between the president and his once loyal fixer, just one new wrinkle in a week in which Democrats made clear just about everything Trump is under investigation and the president, yet again, twisted the truth.


TRUMP: Both his lawyer, a highly respected man, and a very highly respected judge, the judge said there was no collusion with Russia, this had nothing to do with collusion, there was no collusion. It's a collusion hoax, it's a collusion witch hoax, I don't collude with Russia.


And Democrats want a fresh face in Medicare For All, right. New CNN polling in the state that votes first shows us yet again to beware of the buzz in Washington or on the internet.


SANDERS: I want to welcome you to a campaign where it says loudly and proudly that the underlying principles of our government will not be greed, kleptocracy, hatred and lies.

We will no longer tolerate the greed of Wall Street, the greed of corporate America and the greed of the billionaire class.


With us this Sunday to share their reporting and their insights, Time's Molly Ball, Michael Shear of the New York Times, Seung Min Kim of the Washington Post and Politico's Eliana Johnson.

We begin with a big early test for the new Democratic majority and its leader, Speaker Nancy Pelosi prides herself on discipline, order and dealing with family feuds in private. The new Democratic House majority she promised would stand in stark contrast to the constant Trump White House chaos and Republican legislative dysfunction.


PELOSI: When our new members take the oath, our Congress will be refreshed and our Democracy will be strengthened by their optimism, idealism and patriotism, this transformative freshman class.


To transformative, add disruptive, distracting and in some cases embarrassing. This past week was dominated by anti-Semitic statements by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and a very public internal Democratic fight over how to respond. Hate, controversy and stumbles are not the early headlines Pelosi wanted, though in public she continues to give Congresswoman Omar the benefit of the doubt.


PELOSI: I don't think that the - that the congresswoman is - perhaps appreciate the full weight of how it's heard by other people, although I don't believe it was intended in any anti-Semitic way.

But the fact is if that's how it was interpreted, we have to remove all doubt.


House Democrats have passed two modest gun control bills and a sweeping measure dealing with ethics and voting rights, but Pelosi's own members realize their work is not getting noticed.


REP. HARLEY ROUDA (D), CA: Fortunately we got a lot of other things accomplished including H.R.1 today, but yes, it's a distraction, it's a distraction none of us need.


So where are we on this Sunday, a very tough week for the new majority, including again, the speaker, who prides herself on keeping the ship tight and straight.

SEUNG MIN KIM, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well clearly they've been off to a very difficult start, first with the shut down that, you know, sucked up all the oxygen in Washington for several weeks at the beginning of the year and now with this intraparty drama.


And just for contrast, when the speaker -- the current speaker, Nancy Pelosi became speaker for the first time in 2007, in just under two weeks the Democratic House passed six major Democratic initiatives, whether it's expanding stem cell research, college debt relief, raising the minimum wage. So that really a contrast to what they have been able to do this year because of all these outside issues. They did pass that gun control bill and they also passed the big ethics package this week but that was supposed to be kind of their marquee legislation to start off their new majority.

We're in March and we're only getting around to it now for all these external factors that we discussed. And that's been really a struggle for Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic caucus.

ELIANA JOHNSON, NATIONAL POLITICACL REPORTER, POLITICO: Look, the goal -- Congresswoman Omar's statement that prompted this resolution this week was the umpteenth statement from her and I think the goal for this resolution was for Democrats to have something to point to saying we've condemned this already, like Republicans being asked about Trump's tweets, essentially, and the resolution really ended up in a watered-down form that won't allow Democrats to do this. So Pelosi did not succeed in being able to put this controversy behind her and her fellow Democrats. I think that was a failure for Nancy Pelosi.

And when we asked senators about this, Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas said to us it's a gift to have Democrats dealing with their own internal controversies as opposed to what -- this is what Republicans have been dealing with for the past two years, asked about every Trump controversy. That has divided the Republican party. And you know, our story this week was Ilhan Omar is a gift to Donald Trump.

MICHAEL SEAR, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Right. Well look, and it's not just, though, that controversy, right? I mean, in terms of, you know, Nancy Pelosi being the sort of master strategist of the Democratic message -- you mentioned the gun bill, which is something that Democrats would have wanted lots of people to pay attention to. This is something that, you know, hasn't happened in a long time getting through -- getting through at least one house of Congress. And I think it was -- I think the final vote came right as the Michael Cohen hearing was going on, right?

Which is, again, totally within the control of the --of the House majority and they could have done a better job of highlighting the things they -- you know, the differing things that they want people to focus on and they're not doing a very good job about that so far (ph).

KING: And the question is what do you do about it because we live in a different time. Dan Balz in The Washington Post today a great piece about the changes in the parties if you want to read it. We live in a different time. Nancy Pelosi's not going to get these new members to be quiet -- the new freshmen members. They have a mission, they believe they have a mandate to stir things up, they think they were sent here to fight just like the Tea Party guys were after 2010 and 2014. And listen to Congressman Omar here in his statement -- again, making clear this is not an anti-Semitic statement but this is a statement that she wants to keep talking, even going after President Barack Obama.


REP. ILHAN OMAR (D), MINNESOTA: I will talk about the family separation or caging of kids and people will point out that this was Trump -- I mean, this was Obama. And you know, I'll say something about the droning of -- of countries around the world and people will say that was Obama. And all of that is very true. We can't be only upset with Trump because he's not a politician who sells us his -- his -- his policies in the most perfect way. His policies are bad, but many of the people who came before him also had really bad policies. They just were more polished than he was.


KING: She's not wrong in the sense that there were controversial immigration policies in the Obama administration, they did use drones -- she used the word murder in that interview Politico Magazine about the use of drones. She's not wrong. The question is -- it's just interesting to have a new Democrat come in who is willing to stir everything up.

MOLLY BALL, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESOPNDENT, TIME: Sure. And you know, I think the Obama presidency suppressed a lot of these tensions but they have been brewing for a decade or more between the sort of anti-corporate left and also the sort of identity politics left and the more mainstream Democratic establishment and donor community, right? And so it does make sense that with the Democrats out of power these debates would be coming to the fore, and in retrospect it's entirely predictable that this would be the axis that the controversy turns on, that these types of identity issues and diversity issues are the things that cause internal strife among the Democratic party.

They're unified when it comes to investigating Trump, for example. They're unified when it comes to passing gun control and anti- corruption measures. And so, you know, as -- as Michael was saying, there's -- there's -- those are the things they want to focus on. They would prefer to keep the focus on policy. Second choice would be the Trump investigations. This is way down the list, but they don't have a choice when the new members have so much energy and have their own voice thanks to social media and thanks to their sort of personal followings.


KING: And don't like to be told, you know, wait - at least wait a couple of months, let us get out of the gates or please tame your tweets because that's how they got where they are, including you mentioned the tensions in the party, here's Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the most vocal freshman members talking this weekend in Texas about capitalism and whether she thinks it's redeemable.


OCASIO-CORTEZ: Capitalism is an - to me is it's an ideology of capital. It puts capital - the most important thing is the concentration of capital and it means that we seek and prioritize profit and the accumulation of money above all else, and to me that ideology is not sustainable and cannot be redeemed.


Now there is a debate to be had and Democrats want to have it about income inequality, about the top one percent or the - you know, or wages in the like. However you mentioned gifts to Trump, there are a lot of Republicans and some Democrats who say that's a gift.

JOHNSON: You know, I think these voices are - they're not influential only because they won't be quiet, but I think because this is where the energy in the part is. And the parallels I think with the Tea Party in the Republican Party which my colleague Tim Alberta in that interview with Ilhan Omar for Politico Magazine brought out, she said I admire the Tea Party, I admire their tactics and the way that they went about making their voices heard when Paul Ryan and John Boehner and Mitch McConnell wanted to suppress descent. And I think the Democrats are reckoning with that right now, but, you

know, Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, they're becoming forces in the Democratic primary, precisely because that's where the energy in the Democratic base is.

And I think it does bode well for Bernie Sanders.

KING: And Pelosi on Friday said it's a joy to manage all this. How much of that is, shall we say a public spin versus private - what (ph) the angst?

KIM: She just seems very diplomatic there in saying that. But exactly right, I mean these kinds of - what - you know, what the freshman congresswoman said and some of the other actions from the left wing of the Democratic Party right now obscures the fact that there are 23 Democratic freshman who actually won in Trump districts who are already being targeted by the National Republican Congressional Committee, particularly over comments like this.

I mean I can't tell you how many e-mails I've gotten from them daily kind of seizing on these comments that you see, comments and the actions and the policies of this new Democratic caucus, so that tension is going to be something to continue to be watched.

KING: (Inaudible) again there's a parallel, somewhere John Boehner is still laughing. Up next, Paul Manafort's not so subtle message, and the president can't stop talking and tweeting about Michael Cohen.



KING: The possibility of pardons and a history of lying are the common threats this week between two former top Trump associates headed to prison. One is Paul Manafort, who got off easy if that's the right word, this past week when a judge who could have sent him to jail for 20 years or more instead imposed a sentence just shy of four years.

Manafort is just shy of 70, so any prison time is unwelcome, and his attorney succeeded in catching the president's attention.


KEVIN DOWNING, PAUL MANAFORT'S ATTORNEY: There is absolutely no evidence that Paul Manafort was involved with any collusion with any government official from Russia.

TRUMP: I feel very badly for Paul Manafort, I think it's been a very, very tough time for him. His lawyer went out of his way actually to make a statement last night, no collusion with Russia, there was absolutely none.


Still the president told reporters there any talk of a Manafort pardon is a media creation. It isn't the media that has talk of a pardon for Michael Cohen front and center. The president and his fixer turned accuser are stocking that debate and House Democrats want to know who's telling the truth.

Aids and allies say Cohen is a constant conversation point in the president's phone calls with lawmakers, associates and after his national security briefings. Friday the president called Cohen a bad lawyer and says it was perjury when Cohen told Congress he never sought a pardon.


TRUMP: Michael Cohen lied about the pardon, (inaudible) it's a stone cold lie and he's lied about a lot of things, but when he lied about the pardon, that was really a lie and he knew all about pardons.

His lawyer said that they went to my lawyers and asked for pardons, and I can go a step above that, but I won't go to it now.


A little more than an hour later, the president went that one step, quote, "fraudster Michael Cohen", the president tweeted, directly asked him for a pardon. And as we start the conversation, that's one tweet there. Put up the rest here, 13 times, at least 13 times since that tweet, the president has tweeted about Michael Cohen, whether you like him or you don't like him, whether you're not so sure, he is the most transparent president at least in my memory.

Why? Why is he obsessed with Michael Cohen?

BALL: Well Michael Cohen was very close to him for a really long time, these are two men who knew each other very, very well. They worked side by side, when we say fixer, what we're talking about is someone who was a close confidant.

I mean if, for example, you wanted to pay off a mistress, the person that you go to to help you with that and to make those payments under the table is probably going to be someone you're really, really close to and you really, really, really trust.

So I think that this - what Trump perceives as a betrayal, just cuts particularly close to the bone. Of course there's the calculation of what Michael Cohen might have on him, what evidence, what testimony he might have given to the various investigators, but beyond that I think it's just the emotion of having someone who you were so close to turn on you and say terrible things about you under oath in Congress, and then there's beyond that the I think political and legal strategy of impugning Michael Cohen's credibility so that - so that he isn't believed by the public.

KING: Because if a tenth of what he says is true, the president's got a whole lot of trouble.

BALL: It's not great, yes, yes.

KING: Yes.

SHEAR: Here's what struck me about the clip that you played, right, the question of if Donald Trump - if Donald Trump's last tweet that Michael Cohen directly asked him for a pardon is true, why did he wait more than a week to put that out?

Wouldn't you think that the day that Michael Cohen testifies in front of that congressional hearing and says pardon, I never had talked about a pardon. If that was true, wouldn't you think Donald Trump would have said that that day?


It doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I mean, I guess there's maybe some strategery that you could imagine but -- but that was one question that I had when that tweet came out and when the president made those comments.

KING: Right. And so you raise great questions. Is the president credible? He has departed from the truth. I'd say he has a casual relationship with the truth at best most of the time. Is he telling the truth? Michael Cohen is an admitted liar. Is he telling the truth? Which is why even House Democrats -- even House Democrats -- Republicans say how could you put that guy in the witness chair, he's a horrible witness.

SHEAR: Right.

KING: Democrats say, look, we get it, he has credibility issues which is why -- we can scroll through the names here -- 81 groups and entities the Democrats say now we want documents and information from these people to see if we can back up what Michael Cohen said. So as the president is fixated on Cohen, the Democrats are just starting to flex their muscles, and they say it would be oversight, not overreach but that's a challenge.

KIM: Especially with that 81 figure. I mean, we had heard 60 already earlier in the week, which is already a big number in itself and 81 just gives that whole shock-and-awe effect. But I think that -- you can kind of see a preview of how the tussle between the administration and Congress will work out just by looking at how the -- how one of the first investigations by the Democratic House has unfolded so far, and that's over the security clearance process at the White house, which officially began in late January but it sort of -- we're kind of in the letters back-and-forth phase and if you look at the letters, you know, the -- the White House is, you know, offering briefings instead of the documents themselves.

They're saying this is not really the purview of Congress, this is really about the president's prerogative here to protect this kind of information and you see Democrats get a little bit more enraged and a little bit more impatient with the administration's response. And I would imagine that's how a lot of these 81 requests are going to go. I'm sure, you know, some of them on the list will probably -- may want to talk voluntarily, but this just back and forth is going to just go on for the next two years into the 2020 election. KING: And to the two years part -- to the two years part, look at

these numbers from Quinnipiac this week. This is stunning. These things drip off us now like water on a duck now because we see so many of them. 64 percent of Americans think the president committed crimes before he was president. 64 percent of Americans think their president committed crimes before he was president, including one- third of Republicans. And then you see the Independents, you see other members of the -- I mean, we're waiting for the Mueller report, we'll see where this Democratic oversight brings us, but I know sometimes we just go, oh yes, another thing in the Trump era, but that's stunning.

JOHNSON: so this is actually the challenge I think Democrats face, in that public opinion of the president -- you know, I think Americans by and large know who this president is. And the challenge I think Democrats face is less uncovering new information that's going to make Americans think the president is a crook. They already believe that, by and large, but nominating somebody who Americans prefer to him. Because Americans, you know, believe those things about the president, they just preferred him to Hillary Clinton and that's something I think Democrats are still having difficulty swallowing. But they've to nominate somebody who Americans believe is preferable to somebody they believe all these bad things about. But they know who he is.

KING: That's the -- we'll call that the art of the segue. Up next, our new Iowa poll. Who leads the pack and what issues matter most to the voters who go first. On the trail in South Carolina this weekend race was a big question for Kamala Harris.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm embarrassed to say that my father was most likely in the KKK.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you for -- for having the courage to stand and share your personal story.


HARRIS: For too long we have not had these honest discussions about race. We've just not. You can look at textbooks in public schools that have erased so much of the history -- the -- the -- the awful, shameful history on race in this country.





ANAN GIRIDHARADAS, AUTHOR: So you and I go drinking, what are you having?

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Beer. Michelob Ultra. The club soda of beers.


WARREN: Come on, people.



KLOBUCHAR: -- a number of great candidates. No, there really are. And I always like to jokingly say, may the best woman win.


KING: A taste there of some of the weekend 2020 Democratic campaigning. We are early in a crowded and wide open race. And we have new numbers that suggest this Sunday, A, Joe Biding remains in the early driver's seat, and B, voters in the state that get things started aren't exactly on the same page as some of the party's most liberal activists and organizations. Let's take a look at the numbers. Number one, as we wait for Joe Biden, look at this from the CNN De Moines register Iowa poll. Joe Biden leads the pack in Iowa 27 percent, Bernie Sanders second, 25 percent followed by Warren, Harris, O'Rourke, Booker and Klobuchar.

Look at this. Now let's just take a peek. We also did a poll in Iowa back in December. Biden is down a bit, absence from the trail maybe costing him a little bit. Sanders getting busy, he's up a little bit, Warren up a bit, Harris up a bit, Beto O'Rourke waiting for that decision. He'd better make it. His numbers are going down. He says he's made it, he just hasn't told us. Booker down a little, Klobuchar the same. Let's go through and take a look again at these two leading candidates. Joe Biden starts with a broader base in Iowa. 70 percent of Iowa Democrats say his political views are just about right.

Only half -- a little less than half say that about Bernie Sanders. So Biden has a broader base, if you will, as he's at the top of the pack. Sanders has to maximize his support among liberal because a lot of people -- 44 percent think he's too liberal. We asked Iowa democrats, Biden gets 21 percent support among liberals, Sanders leads that pack with 30. Look at this, though. Biden gets 36 percent support among those who say they're moderates or conservative Democrats. You see the other candidates here. It's an interesting tug of war ideologically within the Democratic field.

This is interesting. This is interesting. All the talk and the national buzz about Medicare for All. Iowa Democrats, they want candidates to talk about new taxes, the Green New Deal. Medicare for All only polls at 49 percent. So only half of Iowa Democrats think Medicare for All is the end-all-be-all, if you will. That's interesting on the issues.

[08:29:53] JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Look at this though. Biden gets 36 percent support among those who say they're moderates or conservative Democrats. You see the other candidates here. It's an interesting tug of war ideologically within the Democratic field. This is interesting. This is interesting. All the talk and the

national buzz about Medicare for all -- Iowa Democrats, they want candidates to talk about new taxes, the Green New Deal. Medicare for all only polls at 49 percent, so only half of Iowa Democrats think Medicare for all is the end all-be all, if you will.

That's interesting on the issues.

Here's another one of the issues -- let's pop down here. What do they want the candidates to talk about? Health care and climate change are off the charts, income inequality, immigration, race relations, jobs -- they're pretty high. Look where impeachment is? Way down here.

Democrats want to talk about issues, not about impeaching the President right now in Iowa. The big takeaway if you look at this poll. Some Democrat thought Bernie Sanders was a one-shot wonder, right, back in 2016? Nope.


SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: By the way, those radical ideas that we talked about four years ago? Well, today virtually all of those ideas are now supported by a majority of the American people. And they are ideas that Democratic candidates from school board to president are now campaigning on.


KING: What do we think of the numbers. This is fascinating. Number one, Biden has a big hold on this race right now. We assume he runs. If he doesn't, boy, that throws open a whole lot of support. If he does, he's the frontrunner and that's both a blessing and a curse.

But for those who thought Sanders will never be a player again. Those numbers tell you that, you know, say do not -- you use (INAUDIBLE) earlier, I'm going to use misunderestimate -- do not misunderestimate Bernie Sanders.

MOLLY BALL, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, "TIME": Yes, he's still has a lot of that support. Really impressive momentum since his launch with the donations and with the surge in early polling, this idea that I think was out there that maybe other candidates would cannibalize Bernie's support given how small the field was in 2016.

At this point that does not appear to be the case, but the poll does suggest that he has a little bit of a ceiling.

But look, I mean I am getting kind of PTSD flashbacks to 2016 because if this is a Bernie-Biden race, you're going to see candidates with very -- well, in one case the same and a very, very similar policy profile -- very similar baggage to Hillary Clinton, in terms of some of the issues in Biden's past on both policy and connections to corporations (INAUDIBLE).

So this could end up being that, but when you talk to the other campaigns who are stuck in single digits, what they will tell you is they think these well-known candidates are sort of place holders where a lot of Democratic primary voters are parking their votes for now in early polling because the poll asks if the caucus was held today.

KING: Right.

BALL: The caucus isn't going to be held today and voters want to hear from the rest of the candidates. But if it were held today, they're going to go with someone they know.

KING: And just to back that up, Biden down a little bit because he's absent. Sanders up, he's active. Beto O'Rourke down a little bit because he's kind of disappeared a little bit.

So it does back that this is name identification, media coverage right now. However -- however, you still have this -- what happened to all the talk of a fresh face though. And anecdotally we're talking about the supporter show.

You go to rallies, voters say fresh face, I love Joe Biden. I love Bernie Sanders, we need a fresh face. If they want a fresh face, why aren't they telling that to pollsters?

SEUNG MIN KIM, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, "WASHINGTON POST": Well, that was so interesting because that was, you know, one of the numbers I found fascinating. About 64 percent said experience -- Biden's experience is an asset. And the other third said maybe his time had passed. It really does go against kind of the conventional wisdom that we thought about the former Vice President and other candidates that have been for a while.

But to Molly's point earlier, there's a lot in Biden's background that will surface one he becomes a bona fide candidate, if and when that happens. We wrote this past week about comments that he made in the 1970s that argued against desegregation. I mean I think those will be really highlighted once he comes into the race.

And also his role in the Anita Hill hearings. I mean we've talked about it a little bit when the Kavanaugh hearings were going on. But you're -- you know, you're re-watching those clips of the '91 hearing and you see Joe Biden and the criticism that he is facing now that he didn't do enough to defend Anita Hill.

And I think the Democratic Party at this time and where the party is, especially on those issues, is really going to take notice of that.

KING: The question is, can he sell his evolution? Can he sell his own evolution. And the other question is, will Democrats go after him? I was there in the '88 primary when Joe Biden got attacked by the Dukakis campaign.

So the Democrat who was more feisty back then. They all keep saying now, this is going to be about policy. This is going to be nice as they go on.

To your point in the poll. They ask both Bernie -- about Bernie and Biden -- his time has passed or he should get in the race. 31 percent of Iowa Democrats say Biden's time has passed, 64 percent get in. 43 percent say Sanders' time has passed, 54 percent -- so you do see there Sanders numbers are strong, but you do see some 2016 hangover there, in the sense that if you are in camp Clinton, a lot of them still carry a grudge.

MICHAEL SHEAR, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "NEW YORK TIMES": And look, Sanders is a victim of his success in the sense that as he said in that clip that you played that his ideas have been adopted and replicated among others.

But the problem is that once voters really understand who those others are, to Molly's point, they will -- many of them will move, or at least have the potential to move from Bernie to these other people.

[08:35:04] KING: To that point though, Bernie is out there saying Medicare for all. A lot of other candidates are out there saying Medicare for all.

If you look at the polling, only half of Iowa Democrats. Some of say fix Obamacare. They care about health care. They're not sure they want to go as far as Medicare for all.

Are the candidates making a mistake in following the activist buzz, the Internet buzz about the party on Medicare for all for one issue.

And listen here. This is John Hickenlooper, former governor of Colorado, small businessman, clearly a pragmatist, clearly capitalist, right. we talked about this earlier in the program. Why would you ask the question?


JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST: Would you call yourself a proud capitalist?

JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D), FORMER COLORADO GOVERNOR: Oh, I don't know. You know again -- the labels I'm not sure any of them fit.

SCARBOROUGH: I'll break it down even more. Do you consider yourself a capitalist?

HICKENLOOPER: Well, again, the labels. You know, I'm a small businessperson so phat part of the system you would call capitalist, I get it.

SCARBOROUGH: Do you consider yourself a capitalist, and does capitalism work?

HICKENLOOPER: Well, I think -- I don't look at myself with a label.


KING: The guy founded a business, expanded his business. He's a successful capitalist. What is wrong with saying in a Democratic primary, yes, I also get progressive values. And if we have a roaring economy, we can do this with that money. Why are they so afraid?

ELIANA JOHNSON, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, "POLITICO": Well clearly it seems that there is a problem with saying that and that that would -- you know, his campaign would crater if he did.

But that's why I think that there's an opening for Joe Biden here. There really isn't a candidate happening the center right right now who's doing --

KING: Plus there's Bloomberg out of the race, right?

JOHNSON: -- yes. With Bloomberg bowing out of the race this week, with Sherrod Brown bowing out of the race this week -- the Ohio senator who, you know, the Trump campaign had expressed some nervousness about or some Trump campaign aides.

So I do think that there's an opening on the center right for somebody who could challenge Trump3 through the Midwest -- Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin -- those states that carried Trump to the Presidency by a slim margin in 2016.

KING: Let's get a quick break here. I guess that means we're capitalists.

Up next, candidate Trump promised to wipe out trade deficits and balance the budget in five years. New numbers including those from the President's new budget make clear those promises will not be kept.


KING: A tough week ahead for the President on Capitol Hill. The Republican Senate about to join the Democratic House in voting to overturn the President's declaration of a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border. And the administration's new budget plan is being declared dead on arrival even before its Monday delivery to Congress.

The week just ended also put a big spotlight on broken Trump promises. The U.S. trade deficit way up overall and if you zero in just on trade with China. The budget deficit, national debt also heading up.

Candidate Trump, you might remember promised something very different.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We trade. We have a deficit of $800 billion -- and going up, going up fast unless I become president. You will see a drop like you have never seen before.

We can balance the budget very quickly.

SEAN HANNITY,FOX NEWS HOST: You think in five years?

TRUMP: I think over a five-year period. I don't know maybe I could even surprise you.

(END VIDEO CLIP) 3333 KING: Still waiting for that surprise.

Friday brought an unwelcome surprise for the President -- a weak jobs report after months of robust gains. Just 20,000 jobs added last month. Now, the President hopes it's just a blip, and not a sign of slower growth heading into reelection season.


TRUMP: We're seeing wages rise more than they have at any time for a long, long time. I'm happy about that. The economy is very, very strong. If you look at the stock market over the last few months, it's been great.


KING: Where does this put us in the sense you have an incumbent gearing up for reelection. Overall strong economy but some warning signs starting to come up. You worry about that looking forward. His own party -- some cracks in his own party up on Capitol Hill.

If you are an incumbent gearing up for reelection this is not -- this is kind of -- you want to turn the page, get away from this.

BALL: The word I would use is ominous.

KING: Right.

BALL: This is an ominous week for Trump because Both of these things are the biggest dangers to him politically. The Republican Senate now -- this is not the first time that they have defied him.

They've tried to do it quietly. They don't want to an antagonize their shared base of Republican party voters. But if this becomes a habit, that's very, very dangerous for the President. If the Republican Senate decides that there's no cost to them of going against the President.

And then -- and then the other part of that if the economy -- if these murmurs of economic disturbance become an actual slowdown of some sort, that's really, really bad because at this point a lot of people think that the only thing sort of keeping Trump afloat is the strong economy. That people no matter what they think of the President feel like well, things are going ok, nothing has collapsed despite all of the sky is falling predictions when he was elected.

KING: That's a great point. Let's take it out of the Washington in a little bit in the sense that we talked about the senate. We talked about the national economic numbers.

On Friday in Lordstown, Ohio, a factory shut down. Now, it's not the President's fault that GM decided to shutdown that factory. But it is the President's fault that the President went out there and said, don't sell your house. Don't move. I'm going to protect those jobs. So that's personal there in Lordstown, Ohio -- a state critical to the President's election.

And here's a new poll in Michigan this weekend, one of those blue states the President flipped in his big electoral college win. If the election were held today among Michigan likely voters 31 percent definitely vote for Trump; 49 percent definitely for someone else. 16 percent still trying to figure that one out. Those are more ominous markings for the President.

SHEAR: And let me add another word to Molly's and that is accountability, right.

Presidents often get into office the first year, maybe even a little bit more than that. They're able to argue that whatever is happening in the economy and in other parts of the world are not their fault.

[08:45:04] At this point it's all coming home to roost, right. The promises, you know, about the budget deficit, the promises about the trade deficit and other things, he can't run away from those.

And as Molly said, if they're turning against him, that's hard. People are going to blame him. He's the one in the office.

KING: So let me try to play contrarian just for a second here. Reuters reporting the President's budget is going to ask for $8.6 billion for the wall. So essentially saying let's have this fight again, right. You just told me no, here's my request again.

The Senate is going to rebuke the President, here and he's going to get his first veto. Is there an argument to be made, the contrarian Trumpian argument to his base, I'm standing up to the establishment in both parties. Nancy Pelosi's Democrats, the establishment Republicans of the Senate who don't get it. I'm happy for this fight.

KIM: I think there definitely is. And especially when it comes to the border wall because that was such a central part of his campaign promise. A conservative activist told me when the shutdown was going on, the President has to do whatever he can even to declaring a national emergency to show his supporters that he is serious about getting his wall built and he has clearly done that despite the constitutionality arguments around it.

But look, the White House is no doubt on track for a pretty embarrassing defeat this week in the Senate. Republicans tell me that the White House at least has stepped up their efforts to talk to Republican senators, whether it's trying to get them more information, even though they haven't given them critical pieces of information yet. Or just saying, look, the President is watching who is going to vote no and taking names and watching especially for next year.

JOHNSON: You know, here is what I think is going on. I think the President is happy to talk about these things on the campaign trail. I think it will be useful to him to say that he stood to his own party as well as the Democratic Party.

With the vote coming this week, I think the White House is fine having the President veto this bill. They don't want to see the vote numbers creep up from the low 50s where you can say these squishy Republicans those are the people defying me. Doesn't want to see it reach the mid-60s there a dozen or more Republicans going against it.

KING: Have this one fight, not signs of a bigger lasting problem.


KING: Our reporters share from their notebooks next, including who might be next to fill the toughest job -- one of the toughest jobs anyway in President Trump's White House?


KING: Let's head one last time around the INSIDE POLITICS table and 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.

Molly Ball.

BALL: Something a little different. I think it's fair to say that no TV show has ever captured the ridiculousness of Washington as well as HBO's "Veep".

The show has been on a little bit of a hiatus for the past year. The star was the treated for cancer, Julia Lewis Dreyfus, the star, was treated for cancer -- fortunately in remission now.

But the show also after the 2016 election had to do a little bit of adjusting to, shall we say, an era in Washington that has taken absurdity to a new level. I spent some time with Julia Lewis Dreyfus for a profile recently, and she said that she thought that some of the jokes had to become a little bit more extreme to land in this particular era.

Anyway, the seventh and final season of the show is finally coming. It starts at the end of this month and I -- and I think it's to safe to say the rest of Washington are very excited.

KING: I can't wait. It's a good little respite for us, shall we say. Thanks to --

BALL: And Jonah is running for president.

KING: See that? There we go. I don't want to pick which side, never mind.


SHEAR: So here's a question. Is President Trump actually a moderate on immigration? We all know that on illegal immigration, when it comes to illegal immigration he's talked about the wall, he's talked about people coming over from Mexico. He's separated families at the border to try to stop that.

But when it comes to legal immigration, he's actually sent a different message recently that he wants as much as possible largely to help businesses who need workers.

Now that has enraged some of his most conservative anti-immigration supporters. Breitbart News has written multiple news articles about it. Lou Dobbs, who's on Fox Business Network, anti-immigrant host has condemned it, said the other day that the White House has lost its way.

Now President Trump has actually made some moves to limit legal immigration so it's unclear whether the rhetoric will really mean something.

But as he heads into this 2020 reelection campaign, he has the potential at least to put off some of the his most conservative supporters.

KING: Worth watching -- at odds with Lou Dobbs. That's the (INAUDIBLE).

Seung Min.

KIM: There's going to be another big senate vote this week and it's actually to fill Brett Kavanaugh's, now the new Supreme Court Justice's old job on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Her name is Naomi Rowe. She's been nominated to what is often called the second- most powerful important court in the country.

But her nomination's caused a little bit of intra-party Republican drama. There was a little (INAUDIBLE) Senator Josh Hawley earlier this month who raised concerns about how she might rule on cases involving abortion, which is interesting, because those cases don't often come up in that particular court.

But that has caused some concern among Republican, the fact that Hawley spoke out. It actually prompted a private talking to from Mitch McConnell to Josh Hawley himself.

And Justice Clarence Thomas, who Rowe clerked for has actually even gotten involved and called some Republican senators to promote her nomination.

But that's kind of all settled down. She should have enough votes to get confirmed by the end of the week but still a very interesting nomination to watch.

KING: Worth watching because of judges -- how important they are to this President.


JOHNSON: Bill Shine, the White House communications director, resigned this week and is taking an advisory role on the Trump campaign. He was the fifth person to hold the title of White House communications director in the Trump White House, probably the second- most unpleasant or difficult job in Washington after White House chief of staff. So I'll be watching whether the White House looks to fill that job or just leaves it open and acknowledges, you know, on the record that this is a job that the President is doing himself.

[08:55:06] And I think that will be interesting, particularly going into the campaign, and as the Trump campaign has stacked up a pretty robust communications shop.

KING: Still not sure we've heard the last word on how that one all played out.

I'm going to circle back to where we began the hour to what some nervous Democrats say needs to be a reset moment for their new House majority. The tension between the new activist progressive members and moderate Democrats is very real. And very reminiscent of what happened in the Republican ranks after the big Tea Party win.

Republican never really solved those problems and both John Boehner and Paul Ryan left the speakership beyond frustrated they could not achieve big policy goals.

Pelosi's team is trying to adjust. There were urgent appeals this past week to keep family feuds private, meaning off Twitter and off cable TV and urged an appeal to stick together when Republicans use procedural rules to test Democratic unity.

Pelosi is also bringing on a new chief of staff, just three months into the new majority. Quote, "It's a sign she wants to shake things up" is how one veteran Democrat hand put it, quote, "a tacit admission things need to be tighter." Some Democrats think others in the leadership should look at their operations as well.

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. Hope you can catch us week days as well. We're here at noon Eastern.

Up next "STATE OF THE UNION WITH JAKE TAPPER", live from South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.

His guests include the Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro, Jay Inslee plus Republican Congressman Will Hurd.

A busy "STATE OF THE UNION" just ahead. Enjoy it.

Thanks for sharing your Sunday.