ANNOUNCER: THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS starts right now.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC ANCHOR: Special counsel Robert Mueller’s grand jury approves the first charges in the Russia investigation, arrests as early as tomorrow. Who is the mystery target? How close to the White House? All the fallout from Mueller’s first big move.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was almost a lovefest.
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STEPHANOPOULOS: The president rallies his party behind tax cuts after a one-two punch from Republican senators.
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SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: I rise today to say, enough.
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: I would just like for him to leave to it the professionals.
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STEPHANOPOULOS: As critics abandon the Senate, it’s Trump’s party now. Can he lead it to legislative success, or will civil war sink the GOP?
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ROSE MCGOWAN, ACTRESS: I have been silent for 20 years.
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STEPHANOPOULOS: Silent no more.
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ALYSSA MILANO, ACTRESS: We’re going to be vocal until this stops.
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STEPHANOPOULOS: As more powerful men take the fall for sexual harassment, the explosive call to action sweeping Hollywood, corporate America, and Capitol Hill.
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REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D), CALIFORNIA: Many of us in Congress know what it’s like.
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STEPHANOPOULOS: We will break down the politics, smoke out the spin, the facts that matter this week.
ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it’s THIS WEEK.
Here now, chief anchor George Stephanopoulos.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning.
From the start of his presidency, the Russia investigation has bedeviled President Trump. He’s raged about it in private, railed against it in public, calling it fake news, a witch-hunt.
It’s caused him to fire FBI Director James Comey, a dramatic move that directly triggered the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller.
And now, five months into his work, Mueller’s grand jury has approved charges against his first target. Who that target is, who those charges are still unknown, but an indictment and arrest could be announced as early as tomorrow, which means the fallout has just begun.
We’re going to get reaction this week from the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Trump ally who was also a federal prosecutor.
First, the latest from our ABC News team, starting with our senior justice correspondent, Pierre Thomas.
Good morning, Pierre.
PIERRE THOMAS, ABC NEWS SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: George, good morning.
The special counsel’s team in recent days sought charges against at least one unidentified target. Sources say an indictment announcement and arrest could come possibly as early as on Monday.
But the spokesman for the special counsel’s office is declining to comment. And we don’t yet have any specifics on who would be charged or what those charges might be.
What we do know is that the special counsel’s team has been investigating whether there was collusion between associates of then candidate Donald Trump and Russian officials in connection with the 2016 presidential election.
Mueller is also looking into the financial dealings of a number of key Trump associates, including former campaign manager Paul Manafort and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Sources close to Manafort say they’ve been given no indication any charges against him are imminent. And we’ve gotten no response from people — response from people close to Michael Flynn.
While it’s unclear how significant these first charges will be, it does send a clear message that prosecutors believe a crime has been committed, and it shows everyone involved probably needs to take stock that this is a serious matter, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Which means all eyes will be on that courthouse tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m.
Pierre Thomas, thanks very much.
Let’s bring in our senior White House correspondent, Cecilia Vega.
Cecilia, the White House appeared to be blindsided by this.
CECILIA VEGA, ABC NEWS SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, George, absolutely.
And there was certainly a scramble behind the scenes at the White House this weekend. We know the president’s legal team has been busy meeting and making phone calls. And from what we’ve been told, the lawyers of — the president’s lawyers and his aides still have no idea who this is.
They don’t have a name. So, there’s a lot of guessing happening behind the scenes right now.
But, look, are people nervous? Aides have obtained lawyers. We know the president has been picking up the tab for some of that. Everyone that I have been speaking to expects to be brought in, in some capacity, at some point for things like interviews and whatnot.
But even with this big development, I don’t expect the standard response on this to change. They maintain that this is a witch-hunt. That’s something the president talks a lot about.
And as it relates to that — who funded that controversial Russian dossier that is back in the news, they say the focus should be on Democrats and Hillary Clinton.
Now, we all remember the president’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. He called the speculation about Mueller’s charges — quote — “insane.”
So, that gives you a good idea about what they’re thinking. But, so far, George, from the president himself, no public reaction, no tweets — not yet anyway.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes, not yet this morning.
OK, Cecilia Vega, thanks very much.
Let’s bring in our chief legal analyst, Dan Abrams.
And, Dan, why would something like this be kept secret?
DAN ABRAMS, ABC NEWS CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, typically, the reason you keep it secret is, you don’t want the defendant to know. You don’t want the defendant to try to destroy evidence. You don’t want potential co-defendants to act out.
It is specifically targeting the person who is going the be arrested and saying, we don’t want this person to know.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And when we find out who that person is, that will reveal a fair amount about Mueller’s strategy.
The big question becomes, is the strategy going to be first go for a little fish to try to get that person to turn, right? Typically, that’s the way you would do something like this.
You’re looking at a big-time investigation. You first try and indict, put pressure on a smaller fish, in an effort to get that person to turn, and then testify against a bigger one.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But this — but this is complicated by the fact that, in this case, the president has pardon powers.
And, as a result, the rules go all out the window. Right? The fact that the president can pardon any of these people, at least on any federal crime — it doesn’t mean necessarily on a state crime — but on the federal crime — means that they can be thinking, feeling, you know what, if I get indicted, that’s OK. I’m not going to respond to the pressure from the federal authorities, the way that someone ordinarily would, because I know that I’m ultimately going to get pardoned.
That’s going to be a really big question, both for Mueller’s team and for the potential defendants.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Dan Abrams, thanks very much.
Let’s bring in a man who has prosecuted cases, the governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie.
Thanks for coming in this morning.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY: My pleasure, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, what’s your reaction to this news?
CHRISTIE: I want to respond to one thing that Dan said, that is a normal course of things. But when you’re going after the smaller fish to get the bigger fish, you usually don’t charge them, that’s usually stuff that is working behind the scenes, because what you want to do is keep that smaller fish having turned secret, because it helps them to be able to gather more information. Sometimes they can wear a wire for you, sometimes they can gather information for you that if they’re quiet, you’re going get it where if everyone knows they’ve charged, they’re going to be treated like they’re radioactive. No one wants to be near them. No one is going to talk to them.
So, I think that what it appears is going on here is that, you know, he is approaching this as a
normal case with discreet type of charges that may wind up intersecting at some point or may not and not keeping it all together for some big report like Ken Starr did, but rather to go ahead and begin to charge people as he moves along.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you agree with Dan on why this is being kept secret right now?
CHRISTIE: Well first off, it’s supposed to be kept secret. I mean, you know, let’s remember, too, Dan knows this, you know there are very strict criminal laws about disclosing grand jury information. Now, depending upon who disclosed this to CNN, it could be a crime.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you think it was Mueller’s team?
CHRISTIE: Well, I would hope not, because listen, as a prosecutor I could tell you that was the thing that we emphasized the most with our prosecutors and our agents was let me tell you something, we will prosecute you if we find out you leaked this stuff, because we have to have the public have confidence in the fact that the grand jury system is secret and as a result fair. If you’re leaking stuff out of the grand jury, which happens, but you shouldn’t be doing that.
So, but again, we don’t know who leaked it to CNN, if it would be a crime if prosecutors or agents leaked it, defense lawyers leaked it, it might be less…
STEPHANOPOULOS: And anybody who has been before a grand jury is allowed to talk about it.
CHRSTIE: Absolutely. But the people who have been before the grand jury wouldn’t know
that there are charges. You go in there, you testify, you get out. And so I think what is really important to focus on here today is what we don’t know. And what we don’t know…
STEPHANOPOULOS: A lot.
CHRISTIE: …is who the person is. We don’t know what the charges are. We don’t know anything except there’s a report that someone says there will be charges on Monday and that there is a
sealed indictment. And so once that happens, we’ll have a lot more to react to.
But the one thing that is clear here is, I heard someone say, are people nervous? Believe me, if you’re the person, you know. I mean, you have already been told you’re a target. Your lawyers have been — if you’ve been asked to come into the grand jury, they have got to advise you of your status as to
whether you’re a target. If you’ve been told you’re a target, believe me you’re not sleeping well any way.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But how about this notion, though, as Dan was pointing out, this notion the president has pardon power here, and some — there’s been some talk that the president might issue preemptive pardons of Mueller targets before a trial. Would that be appropriate?
CHRISTIE: I have never seen the president talk about that. And quite frankly I think to have those kind of conversations now about pardons — if anybody is sitting around and saying I don’t have to worry about anything, because the president will ultimately pardon me, they should talk to Scooter Libby. They should talk to others who thought they were going to be pardoned, and all the people involved in Watergate, and the pardons they thought they might be getting from President Nixon. They’re still waiting, right?
So, that’s a very important power to use. And I haven’t heard the president say anything like that. And I think we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves, and certainly those people shouldn’t be sitting around saying, hey, no problem.
ABRAMS: They’re looking at Sheriff Arpaio.
CHRISTIE: Well, that’s a different circumstance.
ABRAMS: It is. But I think that’s what led people to say, wait a sec, this is a president who is ready, willing, and able to use his pardon power.
CHRISTIE: But much different circumstance. The charges surrounding Sheriff Arpaio had absolutely nothing to do with the president or people around the president.
STEPHANPOULOS: Because you agree, the president pardoning somebody here would be pretty explosive.
CHRISTIE: Listen, it’s a big step.
And I think the other important thing for people watching this morning to remember is that the last public word we had on any of this was that the president himself was not under investigation.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How do we know that? Because we know that the White House chief of staff, former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus has been questioned by Mueller. We know that Sean Spicer has been questioned. We know that they were questioned about the possibility of obstruction of justice. So you would assume that that means there’s some kind of an investigation of the president. It may come to nothing, but we don’t know.
CHRISTIE: I don’t think you can assume that, George. I just don’t.
And I used to love — when I was U.S. attorney, I used to say to people all the time, the greatest part of my job was only I know what I know. And everybody speculates. And everybody outside speculates. And some of it is educated speculation, like Dan and I are involved in here this morning, because have experience in this.
But in the end, I think we both would be willing to admit, we have no idea.
STEPHANPOULOS: How about Robert Mueller? Back in August, you said he’s a good man. You worked with him when you were prosecutor. He was FBI director. But on Friday, you seemed to suggest that it might be appropriate for him to step aside.
CHRISTIE: What I said was if certain facts turn out to come out regarding his involvement with this in other manners, he has got to continue to evaluate that.
So let me be really clear about it, he has an obligation as a special counsel, and I think a heightened obligation, to be evaluating all the time, new facts that come in, and do they put him in a compromised position. And if they do he has to recuse, because the public already is nervous about this, because the attorney general of the United States has recused himself from it. The justice system is not working as it normally does. And so if there are any questions about Director Mueller, he has to really…
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you haven’t seen that yet.
CHRISTIE: No. No. And that’s not what I said on Friday. What I said on Friday was, if certain facts develop on whether it’s his relationship with Director Comey or other issues, then he has got to think about that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me ask you a final question — you’re also the chair of the president’s opioids commission. The took your recommendation to declare a public health emergency, but he’s facing some criticism for not coming forward and saying I need this much money.
CHRISTIE: Well, I think it’s going to be the subject of negotiation with congress. You know, there’s lots of bills out there — there was a $45 billion proposal that was part of the Graham-Cassidy legislation.
And so I think the president has got to sit down with congress now and congress has to put this money in. The public health emergency fund has only $57,000 in it. So, it’s time to fund that.
I would say that you’re going see this president initially ask for billions of dollars to deal with this. And the other thing people didn’t notice as much, George, I want to bring up briefly is, he talked about changing the Medicaid rules, and said he’s going to, that is going to open up thousands of Medicaid beds across this country for poor people who need drug treatment to get it. That is going to be game changing on the ground in individual states like mine and others.
So money is being committed. And now it’s congress’ job. I heard Congresswoman Pelosi say, where is the money? I said, well, I read the constitution. You appropriate, not the president. So get appropriating. Let’s see what the president will sign.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Christie, thanks very much.
CHRISTIE: Thanks, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s bring in the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee Congressman Adam Schiff. Welcome back to This Week, congressman.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) CALIFORNIA: Thank you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to begin with this question that Governor Christie raised here, the idea that the president is not under investigation. Is that your conclusion?
SCHIFF: I can’t comment on that, George, I can’t answer that one way or the other.
STEPHANOPOULOS: One way — you wouldn’t know whether Robert Mueller is investigating the president?
SCHIFF: I can’t comment on that at all.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What is your reaction to this news that there may be a sealed indictment?
SCHIFF: Well, you know, there are two people I think just from press reporting that it is likely to be, either Mike Flynn or Paul Manafort. We haven’t been informed of who it is, and I don’t think it would been appropriate for Bob Mueller to tell us.
If it is Paul Manafort, and he has apparently told others that he expects to be indicted, it may help us answer one very central question in the investigation, and that is, we know that the Russian government, through intermediaries, was reaching out to the Trump campaign, reaching out to Paul Manafort and others, and offering information on Hillary Clinton they thought would help the Trump campaign, and that the campaign was willing and accepted that idea.
We also know from The Washington Post reporting that contemporaneous with that, Paul
Manafort is reaching out in the other direction Russia, to the Kremlin through oligarchs like Oleg Deripaska, offering information on the campaign in exchange for money, money he believed was owed him for work in Ukraine for a pro-Russia party.
The question is, who gave what to whom as a result of these overtures.
But the fact that these requests are moving in opposite directions, and what information, of course, would Mr. Manafort have to offer the Russians? Well, what would the president do on sanctions? That would be the most important information the Kremlin would want. So, if it is him, it may ultimately help us answer those questions.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How about this question of the president’s pardon power and whether or not it would be appropriate for him to issue preemptive pardons before a trial?
SCHIFF: Well, the Arpaio pardon was a horrible precedent, because that case wasn’t even finished, and the president was essentially sending a message I won’t even wait until the criminal
cases are over to give a pardon.
Now, I don’t think the president’s power is all that absolute, as people have been suggesting. The president cannot pardon people if it’s an effort to obstruct justice, if it’s an effort to prevent Bob
Mueller and others from learning about the president’s own conduct. So, there are limitations. If it were truly unlimited, it would have the effect of nullifying vast portions of the constitution. The president could tell Justice Department officials and other law enforcement to violate the law and that if they did, and it was ever brought up, they were brought up on charges, he would pardon them.
And one principle of constitutional interpretation is you don’t interpret one power as nullifying all of the others.
So, I don’t think it’s unlimited. And I think it would be highly problematic for the president if it’s part of an effort to obstruct justice.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I think we also learned this week that the DNC and the Clinton campaign, through their attorney, helped fund this Fusion GPS effort to create this dossier, this so-called dossier on whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians. We also know that the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website, had been paying Fusion GPS as well.
And this has now become a subject for congress, congressional investigations, along with another investigation into the Obama administration’s approval back in 2010 of a Russian investment in the U.S. uranium industry. The White House pointed it out in saying that this is a sign that there’s collusion on both sides.
SCHIFF: Well, here’s I think the significance of who paid for Fusion GPS. We have known for really a long time that it began as a Republican effort. It was later picked up by the Democrats. So none of that is all that surprising.
I think that is a factor to be considered in weighing the credibility of what Fusion GPS produced, who was paying for it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Shouldn’t it have been disclosed earlier?
SCHIFF: I can’t answer that. I certainly would have liked to know who paid for it earlier, but nonetheless, that’s just one factor to be considered. It doesn’t answer the ultimate question, which is how much of the work is accurate, how much of it is true? And my colleagues don’t seem particularly interested in that question, but that is really the most important question for the American people, and that is how much of this allegation that Christopher Steele makes and the reports that he hears, are true
about the Russian government wanting to help the Trump campaign?
Now, a lot of that has been corroborated.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s my — I wanted to ask you that question. There are some things in that dossier that have been proven untrue. For example, Michael Cohn, according to his passport wasn’t in Prague during the summer of 2016. What do you believe in the dossier has been corroborated?
SCHIFF: Well, the most significant thing to me is that Christopher Steele may have found out even before our intelligence agencies that the Russians were, in fact, aiming to help Donald Trump in the election. That has now been borne out by ample evidence from not only — from individual sources, but also from the social media campaign, for example, very demonstrably pro-Trump, anti-Clinton.
So, that central conclusion has been borne out. Now, the question we continue to investigate is, was the campaign coordinating in the Russian help? And that still remains to be seen. There’s certainly evidence that is highly suggestive of that in terms of the meeting in Trump Tower, but a lot more work needs to be done.
I do want to say this on the uranium one situation. If the president weighed in with the Justice Department to get that investigation going by ordering them to lift this gag rule…
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, the White House has said Don McGahn did contact the Justice Department.
SCHIFF: Well, that’s not only unethical, but it’s a violation of Department of Justice rules. And if members are congress are willing to essentially cover for that or even worse, become complicit in that, and that was the word Jeff Flake used in what I think is the most significant speech in congress in the 17 years that I have been there. If we allow ourselves in congress to become complicit in unethical conduct by the president in taking apart our system of checks and balances brick by brick intervening in the Justice Department with the gag rule, by interviewing U.S. attorneys in New York who may oversee potential prosecutions of the president’s interests, by picking someone, confirming someone nominated to head the criminal division of the Justice Department who just happens to be the lawyer for Alpha Bank, we become complicit in that kind of conduct.
We will have to answer to history.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It does appear that Republicans and Democrats on your committee, the House Intelligence Committee, are now working at cross purposes. Has the congressional investigation, particularly in your your committee, simply become a side show?
SCHIFF: It’s not a side show. And, you know, we continue the hard work of getting to the bottom of what happened.
But, look, we face serious obstacles, and many of them go back to our chairman, who, I think, all too often, has been willing to further the work and the viewpoint of the White House irrespective of what we’re finding in the investigation. That unhelpful.
But nonetheless, there are plenty of us Democrats and Republicans that continue to interview the key witnesses, review the key documents, and make progress in the investigation. It is still my hope that not withstanding all the turbulence created at the top of our committee that we can come to a common conclusion.
But it has been tough, I won’t deny that for a minute.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Schiff, thanks for your time this morning.
SCHIFF: Thanks, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We’ll be right back with The Roundtable.
STEPHANOPOUOS: We’re back with The Roundtable. I’m joined by our chief political analyst Matthew Dowd; Katie Walsh Shields, she served as deputy chief of staff in the Trump White House, now advising his super PAC, America First Priorities; Roland Martin, host and managing
editor of News One Now; Democratic Strategist, former Clinton campaign adviser Karen Finney; and Brian Kilmeade, the co-host of Fox and Friends, also has a new book out “Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans.” You see it right there.
Welcome to all of you.
Matthew, let me begin with you. So, we’re all in a bit of a quandary right now. We don’t know exactly what Robert Mueller has done, but it’s pretty clear that it’s real now.
MATTHEW DOWD, ABC NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah, another boring week in politics, as it unfolds.
I think the whole thing it’s totally dependent on who this person is, right? And we have no idea. It could go in any different direction, the conversation was. It could be big. It could be little. It could be the start of baiting somebody bigger. We have no idea. And we have no idea what his game plan is in the course of this, and whether it finally reaches Donald Trump.
It’s not a good thing, obviously, for any White House to have to deal with this kind of thing. Anything like this takes them off their game, takes them off where they want to go. Takes them off any message they want on tax cuts or tax reform or anything like that. So, we’ll see it unfold.
But it does guarantee one thing, I think, that this is going to go far into 2018, which is problematic for the Republicans to have an investigation going on.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And Kate, you left the White House before this really heated up, before this investigation really heated up. And is it your sense now that they have figured out way to compartmentalize the investigation, as the Clinton administration had to learn to do in his second term?
KATIE WALSH SHIELDS, AMERICA FIRST PRIORITIES: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, they’re focused on tax cuts. I mean, that’s what they’d tell you and that’s what we see up on the Hill and that’s what we see about to come out of the White House.
I mean, they’re going to make sure they get tax cuts for the American public. And I think that you’re going to see the president hasn’t spoken about this in the last 48 hours since this apparent leak has came out that there will be something on Monday. And I think you’ll see the White House continue to talk about helping the American public, not about Russia.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We have seen that discipline from the president. In fact, he just tweeted about Obamacare, but not the Russian investigation.
But earlier in the week, Karen Finney, you did see a lot of these questions and tweets from the president saying collusion now between the Clintons and the Russians. And also, we did learn that the Clintons’ lawyer, Mark Elias did fund this Fusion GPS dossier.
KAREN FINNEY, FORMER CLINTON CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Well, again, that dossier was — came from an American company, that we had — had originally been funded by Republicans, as you mentioned earlier.
I think what’s important, though, is less who founded it and what was in the dossier. And as you heard Adam Schiff just talking about, a number of the things in the dossier have been verified.
But regardless, I think, again, with this announcement about Mueller, what’s important is we also know that there are multiple other reasons that there is an investigation. I mean, there is this question of obstruction of justice in the firing of Jim Comey. There are these the questions about Carter Page and Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort and their communications and meetings with the Russians.
We also learned this week that Cambridge Analytica, the company that was basically the data company for the campaign reached out to Julian Assange of WikiLeaks. We also learned this week — I mean, this is the other problem with this investigation, the more it goes on, we learn — it keeps growing, and that is part of the problem.
As we also learned that, some folks at the Kremlin actually weighed in on the memo that was
part of the June 16 memo.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That was The New York Times report, Brian Kilmeade.
I guess the bottom line there is that, according to Democrats, this is not fake news.
BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX AND FRIENDS: There’s a lot there.
First off, to your question, I think if someone is marched in Monday, tomorrow, and it is something to do directly with the campaign, I think it’s one thing.
Number two, if it’s something about Paul Manafort and what he did in the Ukraine before Donald Trump was even a candidate, then people will say, my goodness, is this going to be widespread and is this going to be confusing. And it’s going to be rough shot, grape shot, looked at in the entire battlefield.
So, to the GPS situation, we found out it’s not a candidate, we found out it was Paul Singer and his Free Beacon. We found out that he was only looking at two candidates in particular. And he stopped the investigation as soon as Donald Trump locked up the nomination.
As soon as he did that, he goes, OK, let’s see what happens from the Republican perspective. Then we find out that somebody else picks up the investigation, makes it international. There’s a Russian element. There was no Russian element to the Free Beacon-financed opposition research. That’ a major difference.
And then we’re supposed to believe that John Podesta has no idea that $6 million to $9 million is flying out of the campaign? He said he didn’t know? And his lawyer when he’s saying he didn’t know, Mark Elias says, oh, yeah, I actually approved that.
So, you’re the lawyer sitting next to a client who is pretending he doesn’t know. That’s unbelievable.
DOWD: I just — as Karen knows, and probably Roland knows, I’ve been highly critical of Hillary Clinton for a long period of time in all of the manifestations of everything…
ROLAND MARTIN, NEWS ONE NOW: I think all of us know that.
DOWD: I have to say. I have to say, we need to give up the David Copperfield or Harry Houdini award for misdirection in this thing. This reminds me of the uranium deal whole story, which has been debunked along the way, all along th way. This is a whole other story. There is no similarity between what Robert Mueller is investigation in collusion and what the Russians wanted to do and a
dossier paid for in part by the Democrats in order to…
KILMEADE: But Matt, why would you think that? The FBI indictments could have been handed out.
DOWD: There’s no Russian relationship between the dossier and the Democrats.
MARTIN: Here is what is laughable. We literally watch a campaign of folks chant lock her up, that we can have a president under investigation, and we are here right now. This is the real test as to whether or not Republicans actually put patriotism above partisanship.
Will conservative media actually folks speak truth or want to defend Trump at any and all costs. I love it how people are complaining about players who take a knee and the flag, but then want to excuse what Russia has done. That is the real issue here. And what Mueller is doing is doing what a prosecutor should do, get to the truth.
Remember, Whitewater started with one thing and ended with another. This is what happens when you go through a federal investigation.
KILMEADE: Why do you think that patriotism has something to do with admitting Trump is wrong? He doesn’t think he is — he doesn’t think he’s wrong. They don’t believe he’s wrong. There is no evidence he is wrong. So what is patriotic about saying something is wrong?
MARTIN: Brian, this is a guy who will knowingly lie and not admit the truth, so whether he says that is irrelevant to me. The bottom line is this here, when you have a foreign country that is clearly, undeniably involved in our election, not just…
MARTIN: No, no, no. One second. One second. Excuse me. Excuse me. I’m not talking about that, I’m speaking of Facebook ads. I’m speaking of bots. I’m speaking of all of that.
We all — Brian, all Americans should — all Americans should want the answer and not feeding partisanship.
FINNEY: There’s one other thing, though, there’s a pattern that we have seen time and time again in this administration. You start, you know, you’ll see the president tweet about or say something, this week, it was, we need to release all of Hillary’s emails, and we need to — you know, kind of throwing the the smoke screen back on Hillary — by the way, at some point, Donald Trump is going to have to be accountable for Donald Trump actually being the president.
But then what ends up happening is — and just before the news broke on Friday that Mueller was — is close to actually bringing charges, I thought, what is it that’s about to come out? Because this pattern we have seen before, every time there is about to be a new revelation in this investigation, leading right into that, we’ve got all this blowing of smoke and oh, it’s about Hillary, or, oh, Obama wire-tapped me in Trump Tower.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You saw it coming?
FINNEY: Of course.
KILMEADE: But Karen, you have it absolutely reversed. What happened over the last two or three days? Revelations now are out, thanks to Fusion GPS coming forward, prior to releasing their tax records, saying…
FINNEY: It’s been over a year.
KILMEADE: No, they didn’t, because it was denied by John Podesta. It was denied by the DNC chairman.
DOWD: Two shows in Vegas, misdirection.
DOWD: I’m sorry if you’re frustrated.
KILMEADE: The truth and timeline is actually important.
All right, so let me finish and I will tell you the fact. You’re ready for the facts. The facts is Tuesday, Wednesday, we get the revelations because GPS did not want to hand over their records about who financed their international probe in Trump Tower — excuse me, into Russia.
And then Tuesday, Wednesday it turns out $3.6 million for the Democrats — because let me finish — and then $6 million from Hillary Clinton’s campaign, which he never admitted to before.
So, this happens — so this happens…
MARTIN: I just love this filibustering…
STEPHANOPOULOS: Hold on a second. I’m stopping this. There are two facts. Two facts about the dossier that we know. We know that it had nothing to do with the intelligence community’s findings that Russia interfered with the election, absolutely nothing to do with that. And number two, we know that nothing in the dossier came out during the campaign, so it had no effect on the campaign.
DOWD: Let me add one other fact, every single intelligence agency said not only did Russia
interfere in our election, they were interfering on behalf of — to get Donald Trump elected and Hillary defeated. The argument mat that has to be made on the dossier is that somehow Hillary Clinton and the Democrats contributed to her own defeat by what the Russians wanted by doing that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, we’ve got to take a quick break. When we come back, millions have taken to social media with the hashtag Me Too to share their stories of sexual harassment and assault. Powerful men facing the consequences. I’ll speak with the activist who started the movement and a congresswoman who is trying to prevent sexual harassment on Capitol Hill.
And we’ll be back with The Roundtable as well.
STEPHANOPOULOS: From those first accusations against Harvey Weinstein…
(BEGIN VIDEO CLPI)
KAREN SIVAN, REPORTER, KTTV: He stood in the doorway and he tried to kiss me.
ASHLEY JUDD, ACTRESS: They said, he’s in his room. And I was like, are you kidding me? That’s his pattern of sexual predation. That was how he rolled.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: An explosion of stunning, sad, and shameful stories.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REESE WITHERSPOON, ACTRESS: A lot of feelings I’ve been having that anxiety about being honest and guilt for not for not speaking up earlier.
ROSE MCGOWAN, ACTRESS: I have been slut-shamed. I have been harassed. I have been maligned. And you know what? I’m just like you.
GABRIELLE UNION, ACTRESS: Literally hundreds of thousands of people, men and women, talking about being a part of this unfortunate club.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Those voices tarnishing and taking down powerful men. The fallout spreading from Hollywood to corporate America to the media and Capitol Hill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JACKIE SPEIER, (D) CALIGORNIA: The chief of staff held my face, kissed me, and stuck his tongue in my mouth. It’s time to throw back the curtain on the repulsive behavior that, until now, has thrived in the dark without consequences.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: The question now, will this Me Too movement spark real change?
I’m joined now by the woman who founded the Me Too movement a decade ago, Tarana Burke; and Democratic Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence. She has introduced legislation that would require all congressional offices to enroll in training to prevent sexual harassment.
Thank you both for joining us this morning.
And Tarana, let me begin with you. As I said, you founded this movement a decade ago, yet it’s exploded over the last two weeks. Why did it take off now? And do you think it is going to produce real change?
TARANA BURKE, FOUNDER, ME TOO MOVEMENT: Absolutely. I think it took off now
obviously because of the magnitude of the names that are involved in the current sexual harassment scandal, so we have Hollywood actresses. We have producers. We have television hosts. And so, people are going to pay attention because pop culture is now right in the center of the controversy.
STEPHANOPUOLOS: That’s what is clearly what we have seen. And we also saw your colleague, Congresswoman Jackie Speier, share her own story. She calls Capitol Hill are breeding ground for a hostile work environment for far too long.
Two questions, have you witnessed this during your tenure? And what difference will your
REP. BRENDA LAWRENCE, (D) MICHIGAN: One of the things that I found through my experience in private sector, being an equal employment opportunity investigator where I investigated claims of sexual harassment, is that you have to set a tone. You have to establish this benchmark of zero tolerance.
And if we are making sexual harassment training optional, then what are we saying as an
organization? Because we require all federal employees, it’s mandatory, but on the Hill and the Capitol, it’s optional. So, this is the first step of setting the tone of zero tolerance for sexual harassment.
There are some people who actually believe that what I’m doing is OK. What the training does is says, it’s not OK, that you, if you feel like you have been sexually harassed, you do have a process to go through.
One of the things my colleagues, Congresswoman Speier, have said, is that we need to look that
process, because it’s not one that — allows a person who feels like they’ve been sexually harassed to have a responsive and proactive response.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And you see that. And you know this from your work in corporate America as well that women are afraid to come forward.
We have heard from so many, including one after the Diane Sawyer interview that actually Ashley Judd called in to GMA. Listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFID FEMALE: This guy controls my schedule. If I don’t make any money, I don’t feed my kids. I have no face in this, I have no name. You know about me. But I’m still scared that he’s
going to find out or someone’s going the find out that I’ve said something and then I lose my job, and I can’t lose my job.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s got to be the biggest obstacle.
BURKE: It is. This is about power and privilege, right. Ultimately, sexual violence is about power, and sexual harassment is about the intersection of power and privilege. People feel helpless. There’s always a question about why do the women not complain? Why don’t they come forward? Because this is a great example of why. People’s livelihoods are at stake, right. People’s lives are at stake. And so you have to make a choice between do I deal with this uncomfortable thing that reduces my dignity or do I feed my children?
STEPHANOPOULOS: One of the other things we’ve seen, as you talked about the high profile people that have come forward, the White House was of course asked about this, this week as well, because of the allegations against President Trump. Let’s show that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Obviously, sexual harassment has been in the news. At least 16 women accused the president of sexually harassing them throughout the course of the campaign. Last week, the president called these accusations fake news. Is the special White House position that all these women are lying?
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECREATRY: Yeah, we’ve been clear on that from the beginning and the president has spoken on it — John.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: All these women are lying, according the the White House. And I think a lot of people have questioned — you see so many men fall, yet the president elected after all these revelations were known.
LAWRENCE: Well, the good thing about Me Too is the sense of awareness, and it’s giving reassurance and comfort to women to speak out, because it’s going to be on the back of women and those who are sexually harassed to stop it, because as long as we are silent, it continues. And I — I think it’s — it is very powerful. For the person who sits in the White House, to have behavior that he has admitted, and it’s been documented, that is clearly sexual harassment, that is unacceptable behavior. And we’re going to have to step up. I’m so proud of the Me Too movement.
But it’s a shame, because this has been going on for years. It takes high-profile women to bring attention to this, because what about the woman in the fast food restaurant who the only way she can feed her children — it’s that job or starvation for her family? And they’re being subjected to this, as well.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What is the most important thing to happen now?
BURKE: There are a couple of things that have to happen. We have to have stronger legislation and stronger policy, that those things have to be enforced. And we also have to have ally-ship. It’s on the backs of women. But it’s on the backs of men. Men have to stand up. They have to be — they have to be outspoken. It’s like when you see something, say something.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It’s everyone’s responsibility. Thank you both very much.
BURKE: Thank you.
LAWRENCE: Thank you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: When we come back, Jeff Flake joined Bob Corker when he announced he was leaving the Senate with tough words for President Trump. What does it mean for the president and the GOP agenda? The Roundtable takes on that question next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JEFF FLAKE, (R) ARIZONA: Reckless, outrageous, and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as “telling it like it is.”
SEN. BOB CORKER, (R) TENNESSEE: I think the debasement of our nation will be what he’ll be remembered most for, and that’s regretful.
FLAKE: There were those of us who had hoped for a pivot I think have agreed now it’s just not going to come. And so it’s up to us to stand up and say this is not acceptable.
CORKER: He’s obviously not going to — to rise to the occasion as president.
QUESTION: Do you think he’s a role model to children in the United States?
QUESTION: You don’t?
CORKER: No, absolutely not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Big swipes at President Trump from two Republican senators calling it quits, so is that a sign that President Trump is actually tightening his grip on the GOP?
The roundtable takes that on next.
And for the latest politics any time, download the ABC News app and sign up for breaking news alerts.
We will be right back.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Well, I think all of us realize that, if we fail on taxes, that’s the end of the Republican Party’s governing majority in 2018.
I can’t imagine how he could be successful with Nancy Pelosi running the House. They would try to impeach him pretty quick.
And it would be just one constant investigation after another. So, it’s important that we pass tax reform in a meaningful way. If we don’t, that’s probably the end of the Republican Party as we know it.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Unvarnished words there from Senator Lindsey Graham actually on Brian Kilmeade’s radio show. He’s joining us here on the roundtable.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But I want to start with Katie Walsh Shields.
So, you brought this up as well. You know the White House well. You worked there. And tax cuts really have become the glue that is holding the Republican Party together right now.
KATIE WALSH SHIELDS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF: Absolutely.
But it falls in line with everybody the president has done the last seven months. We’re going to announce — I think it was forecasted that we have 3 percent GDP in the third quarter. We’ve had that the last six months.
It’s the best nine-month stretch for the economy in three years. Unemployment is at an all-time low. The Dow is at an all-time high. So, it coincides with everything the president has been working on for nine months.
And I think, when this gets done, we will have a very good story to tell in 2018.
ROLAND MARTIN, HOST AND MANAGING EDITOR, “NEWSONE NOW”: I’m waiting for that tweet: “Thank you, President Obama, few setting me up with a great economy.”
MARTIN: You know what I’m saying? You can’t deny it.
MARTIN: But here’s the thing with what Graham said that people have to understand. And Democrats are running around saying, oh, my God, the possibility here.
The fact of the matter is, the Republican Party is not imploding. When you control 31 governor’s mansions, when you control legislatures, House, Senate, and the White House, more importantly the judiciary, you’re not imploding.
Yes, you have these internal fights, but this is about power. This is not about principles or character or moral and values. They want to maintain power.
Trump is the vessel that allows them to do so. And so they will fall in line.
Jeff Flake, that wasn’t courageous, what he did.
STEPHANOPOULOS: He was going to lose.
MARTIN: Courageous is to still run. Courageous is to say, I’m going campaign around Arizona and speak the truth, and, if I lose, that’s fine.
I’m not giving anybody props for giving a speech and cutting and running. No, you stand up and you stay in the office and you challenge them. That’s how you do it.
But people have to stop thinking the Republican Party is dead. They’re not. And when you see things happening in North Carolina, what is sadistic, what they’re doing, what is undemocratic, in Wisconsin, those states, we ignore what is happening in these states. Texas, five times they have lost in the federal courts over voter I.D., costs $3 million.
It’s real what they’re doing in states.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And that corresponds to Congress as well.
Let me bring this to Brian Kilmeade.
The president does command strong majorities in the House right now. They’re staying behind him right now, most Republican senators as well. The problem is, no one really knows what is inside this tax bill.
BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS: Right. And I think — what I think is encouraging if you’re a Republican is the fact that the House and Senate and White House have been meeting behind closed doors before they rolled it out.
So, they know a lot of details. They’re timing it for the right time when they come out. There’s some disagreements.
But back to your original question, the reason Lindsey Graham is talking in cataclysmic fashion, because he knows it’s going to pass. Know why? Not because of President Trump. It’s because each individual lawmaker is on the clock in 2018, whether you’re going to be up in a little while, or you’re going be up in 2018 or 2020.
They have to do something, or else they have nothing to run on. So, they’re not doing it for President Trump. They’re not even doing it for their party. They’re doing it for their own careers. That’s why I think it will get done.
KAREN FINNEY, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: And that’s the problem with the Republican Party, I think, that is bearing out this year.
I mean, they control everything. They can’t get health care done. There wasn’t even a plan. It’s like the emperor is not wearing any clothes. And if they can’t even get this tax thing done, then they really have nothing to run. And I agree with that.
KILMEADE: So, you kind of agree with me.
FINNEY: At the same time, however, I think that this is a moral test the for the Republican Party. And I think they are going to fail, unfortunately, because in order to get this tax deal done, from everything that we have heard, it is going to add to the deficit.
Now, the Republicans have always said, we don’t — that’s something that they didn’t want to do. So, it’s not going to actually bring tax relief to the middle class. It is actually, from what we know, going to help the top 1 percent. I think it’s if you make over $733,000 a year, you are actually going to benefit from this plan.
And so what does that say about what the Republican Party is really all about?
MATTHEW DOWD, ABC NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: To me, so, I — be careful what you wish for. This is just like much of the pressure that the Obama administration put on the Democrats in Congress in 2009, said, you have got to pass something. We need to have something to run on. They pass Obamacare, and they lose almost every single office.
And this — this tax bill to me right now, all the polls show it’s very unpopular, the elements that we know. Eighty percent of the benefits of this tax bill go to the top 1 percent of the country. So, it’s not going to help the working class, those voters that are going to decide this election.
But I think, fundamentally, Lindsey Graham is wrong about one thing. One, the Republicans hold all the levers of power in this. I think he’s wrong that the Republican Party, whether or not they pass this tax bill, is dead.
The Republican Party as we know it, the party of Ronald Reagan, the party of George W. Bush, is gone. The party now is the Donald Trump party. Eighty percent or 85 percent of the Republican voters, regardless of what the Republicans say in Washington that walk around the halls of the Capitol Hill and say what they think the Republican Party is, that party is long gone.
And they have to come to terms with the idea, this is the Trump-Steve Bannon party that is more welcoming to somebody like Roy Moore than it is to somebody like Jeff Flake.
MARTIN: And, George, what they have to accept is that you have this alliance, alliance of white conservative evangelicals aligning with white nationalists, white supremacists like Gorka and like Bannon.
And what is interesting to me is, I’m looking at all these Trump voters, and I’m going, at what point will you wake up and realize you’re getting screwed? Not just…
WALSH SHIELDS: They’re not getting screwed.
MARTIN: One second. One second.
They’re getting screwed when you look at Affordable Care Act, because they’re benefiting from it. They’re getting screwed when this man stood up and talked about the opioid crisis, and the most he did this week was hold a press conference to say, we’re going to have a few more ads. They’re going to screwed on the tax deal as well.
Look, broke is broke. And some of the brokest, poorest counties in America, two-thirds of them are in Republican districts. They’re going to get screwed. Watch it happen.
WALSH SHIELDS: Roland, I don’t know how you possibly say these people are getting screwed. Unemployment is at an all-time low.
National Association of Manufacturers has come out and said, if this tax cut goes through, more people will hire — jobs.
In 2 — I’m sorry — in 2003, I think, in President Bush’s tax cut, in the next five years, 7.8 million jobs happened.
FINNEY: But then we take a big dip.
MARTIN: And those same people — and those same people…
WALSH SHIELDS: When these people have jobs, when their — when their pocketbooks are better, when, hopefully, we pass repeal, replace, and their premiums go down again, these people will vote for the president again.
MARTIN: That means nothing if you’re dying from opioids.
FINNEY: We’re going take a big hit in the economy. There may be an initial bump.
WALSH SHIELDS: Based on what, Karen? Based on what? Who is telling you that?
FINNEY: There have been a number of studies that came out this week that looked at — actually, quite frankly…
WALSH SHIELDS: I have not seen one.
FINNEY: I will bring them up right here.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I have got to interrupt, because President Trump actually has tweeted about Russia and the dossier.
FINNEY: Well, there you go.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It didn’t — it didn’t last.
“Never seen such Republican anger, unity as I have concerning the lack of investigation on Clinton-made fake dossier. Now $12 million.”
STEPHANOPOULOS: So much for the discipline.
KILMEADE: Right. You know, I would like to get back — so let’s talk about tax reform.
KILMEADE: I have just got to say a couple of things.
Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka, white supremacists, I have never met Steve Bannon, but Sebastian Gorka, absolutely not. I don’t think Steve — I think that’s a — that is a — that is statement that I think is repugnant
MARTIN: Excuse me.
MARTIN: Now, look, Brian, Brian, Brian, Brian, when you say Breitbart is the home of the alt-right, which aligns with white supremacists, I’m trying to — and what we saw in Charlottesville, don’t you dare try to cover this thing up.
KILMEADE: I’m not covering anything up. They’re not white supremacists. And you have got to watch that term. That is a term that is a new buzz term.
MARTIN: No, actually, white supremacist is not a new buzz term. It’s older than America.
MARTIN: … the beginning of America.
KILMEADE: Can I just finish up on the tax reform?
Matt, I’m not — I don’t know what you mean the little people are getting screwed. I will give you — from what we know..
DOWD: I didn’t say that. I said 80 percent of the benefits of the tax bill are going to the top 1 percent.
KILMEADE: Well, but the top 10 percent…
KILMEADE: I will give you an example. I will just give an example of how — from what we know, George — and you’re right, we don’t know everything.
From what we know, if you make $12,000 a year right now, you’re being taxed. Under his plan, under — you’re not taxed up until $24,000 a year. So, that right there helps people that are trying…
STEPHANOPOULOS: No one who makes $12,000 pays an income tax.
STEPHANOPOULOS: They’re not paying taxes.
KILMEADE: There’s now multiple tax codes.
DOWD: I think the Trump people and the Republicans can talk about the stock market and they can talk about the job rate.
But there’s no relationship between the perception of Donald Trump and the perception of the Republicans and what is going on in the economy. There’s no relationship. Donald Trump — Donald Trump is disapproved of by 60 percent of the country.
WALSH SHIELDS: President Trump — President Trump was the same guy in the last 25 years, he would argue, as he is today. And he was elected November 2016 between people wanted…
STEPHANOPOULOS: We’re going hit the computer. We’re out of time.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But I know you guys have a lot more to say.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Thank you very much. We will be right back.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The roundtable is still talking here, but we’re out of time.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Thanks for spending part of your Sunday with us.
Check out “World News Tonight.” And we will see you tomorrow on “GMA.”