THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT FOR SEPTEMBER 17, 2017 AND WILL BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: THIS WEEK with George Stephanopoulos starts right now.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST (voice-over): President Trump reaches out…
DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We’re trying to work things out together.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Dining and dealing with the Democrats.
TRUMP: I’m having dinner with Senator Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Enraging his base.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He’s going to get creamed on this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This will be an electoral nightmare for Republicans.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And putting top Republicans on defense.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: First off, there is no agreement. It was a discussion.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How long will this new approach last?
Do both sides have the will to make it work and get results?
Are we now seeing an independent President Trump?
That debate on our Roundtable.
And my exclusive interview with British Prime Minister Theresa May, only hours after that blast on London’s subway.
Can May’s hold on power end America’s special relationship, survive Brexit and President Trump?
(on camera): You say that President Trump has affection for England. It doesn’t appear that the British people have much affection for him.
(voice-over): Plus, North Korea fires yet another missile…
TRUMP: Our options in addressing this threat are both effective and overwhelming.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Has this brinksmanship put us on the brink of war?
That question and more for national security adviser, H.R. McMaster.
We’ll break down the politics, smoke out the spin, the facts that matter this week.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From ABC News, it’s THIS WEEK.
Here now, chief anchor, George Stephanopoulos.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning.
As we come on the air this week, there is breaking news on that terror attack in London, a subway explosion that left 30 injured.
There was a second arrest overnight, a 21-year-old man in London. That comes on top of a teenager also in custody. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Britain now on its highest state of alert, braced for more. The mayor of London warning the public to remain vigilant.
The attack hit at the height of rush hour Friday morning, just after I landed in London for my I view with Prime Minister Theresa May.
We reported the breaking news on “GMA,” speaking with two eyewitnesses who described the panic on the subway as a fireball burst through the carriage.
And, just a few hours later, I arrived at Ten Downing Street for my conversation with the prime minister.
She joined us in Winston Churchill’s old bedroom after an emergency cabinet meeting on the attack and a series of Tweets from President Trump.
STEPHANOPOULOS: President Trump was up and Tweeting this morning. He said that those behind this were in the sights of Scotland Yard.
Is that true?
THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER OF BRITAIN: Well, I don’t think it’s helpful for anyone to speculate on what is an ongoing investigation. The police and the security services are doing the work necessary to discover the full circumstances of this cowardly attack that’s taken place and to identify all those who are responsible.
And I’m pleased to say that our emergency services were on the scene of this attack immediately.
And, once again, I admire and thank them for their professionalism and bravery.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And the rest of the city has carried on. But you’ve said in the wake of these other attacks, enough is enough, things need to change. It’s time for some even embarrassing conversations.
What did you mean by that?
MAY: Well, it is necessary for us to look, as we are doing, at whether our police and security services have the full capabilities, the powers that they need. Of course, we review, after any incident that takes place. And we have had, sadly, a number of terrorist attacks in the U.K. this year…
STEPHANOPOULOS: Do they have the powers they need?
MAY: Well, the exercise is being done. I’ve given them extra powers over my time in office, particularly when I was home secretary, before I became prime minister. I’ve given them extra powers. But we look again.
But one of the issues that we really need to be addressing — and I’ll be raising this when I’m at the United Nations — is the question of the use of the Internet by terrorists for terrorist planning, but also this use for — using it for the spread of extremism, of hatred, of propaganda that can incite and can inspire terrorism.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Are you going to need companies like Facebook and Google to do more?
MAY: We’re talking to them about doing more. And, indeed, companies have come together. They formed a global forum to look at what they can do to be dealing with this more quickly and in a better way than they do at the moment.
So we’re working with the companies.
STEPHANOPOULOS: President Trump also Tweeted this morning that the solution is a bigger, tougher travel ban. That’s an idea you’ve been against.
Is it something you would reconsider?
MAY: I think what is important is that we’re able to have the powers to look into people, to identify people who may be wanting to cause us harm and are plotting to cause us harm, and to be able to take the necessary action when people do cause us harm.
As it happens, here in the United Kingdom, when I was home secretary, I banned more extremist hate preachers. I excluded more extremist hate preachers from coming to the U.K. than any home secretary before.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
STEPHANOPOULOS: In fact, one of the people that the prime minister banned when she was home secretary was Richard Spencer, the white supremacist that organized those demonstrations at Charlottesville.
We want to talk about with the president’s national security adviser, General H.R. McMaster.
General McMaster, thanks for joining us this morning.
You heard the prime minister there, she was a little surprised at the president saying that Scotland Yard had these perpetrators in their sights. Where did the president get thatinformation?
GEN. H.R. MCMASTER, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Well, what the president was communicating is not surprising at all, that law enforcement professionals and intelligence professionals have these terrorist organizations under scrutiny.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But not these individuals…
MCMASTER: …just as the FBI does in the United States. And what’s great about our relationship with the United Kingdom is how closely we work together to gain visibility of these networks and to understand how they’re trying to infiltrate into our own countries and place our own citizens at risk.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But to be clear, the president did not know from any intelligence he had that Scotland Yard had these perpetrators in their sights, did he?
MCMASTER: Well, we have — as I’ve said, what he’s meaning to communicate is that we look at these organizations every day. We try to map these organizations every day.
And what we learned after the mass murder attacks of 9/11 is that integration of our effort between overseeing intelligence operations, domestic law enforcement, working with international partners, is one of the most important ways to protect the American people and really to protect all civilized people from these murderers.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You also heard the prime minister there say that we have to find new ways to cut off terrorists’ use of the Internet. That echoes something the president was tweeting Friday morning, as well. He said, “Loser terrorists must be dealt with in a much tougher manner. The Internet is their main recruitment tool, which we must cut off and use better.”
Can you explain what he meant by that, what exactly he had in mind?
MCMASTER: Yes. So, President Trump has been a real leader on this, along with Prime Minister May. And he laid out his vision on how to defeat these terrorist organizations when he visited Riyadh earlier in the year, with over 50 Muslim majority nations in attendance.
And he said, what we have to do is three fundamental things to defeat these organizations: deny them safe havens and support bases. ISIS, for example, or al Qaeda in their so-called caliphates in the greater Middle East.
But then the second thing that we have to do is cut off their financing, financing that they depend on to be able to organize attacks, to plan attacks, to bankroll a lot of the extremist organizations that propagate this hatred and intolerance and advocate for violence.
And the third thing is related to that, which is to defeat their evil ideology. And Prime Minister May has been a real leader in this in connection with understanding better how these terrorists use the Internet and then block their ability to use that kind of communication to reach vulnerable people, to essentially pull them into these brainwashing organizations that fill them with hatred and direct them toward violence against innocent people.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The president also talked about a larger, tougher travel ban.
Is that something you’re going to propose?
MCMASTER: Well, if you can’t screen people effectively to know who’s coming into your country, then you shouldn’t allow people from that country to travel.
So what the travel ban is, is a first step, a first step in better screening, better sharing of information, to encourage governments to meet the requirements that we have to — so that allows us to protect our own people.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Will we see a new one?
MCMASTER: Well, this is something that we’re looking at, is how to protect the American people better, how to ensure that we know who these people are who are moving. Because the strength of these terrorist organizations — why this is a greater danger than ever is, first of all, their ability to communicate, to connect what would otherwise be disconnected cells in other places in the world.
The second part of this is their ability to travel and to move and to move people and money and weapons, oftentimes drugs and other illicit goods, internationally.
So part of the strategy must be to interdict these networks, interdict them from how they use information, and communicate, but how they move physically, as well.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The president is coming to the UN this week to give his first speech to the U.N. General Assembly.
Here’s what he had to say about the United Nations during the campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United Nations is not a friend of democracy, it’s not a friend to freedom, it’s not a friend even to the United States of America, where, as you know, it has its home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Will that be part of the president’s message to the UN on Tuesday?
MCMASTER: Well, it will be part of his message that the United Nations needs to reform. And the United Nations has to reform to meet the goals and objectives laid out by the great secretary-general there and to be true to its charter.
As you know, any international organization has a broad range of perspectives within it. And what we’ve seen in recent years is that certain nations are undermining key committees.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But the president…
STEPHANOPOULOS: …the UN is not a friend of America?
MCMASTER: …organizations in a way that cuts against our interests.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The president will say the UN is not a friend to America?
MCMASTER: Well, parts of the UN have not been. I mean look at the Human Rights Council that is populated by some of the countries whose actions against their own people are particularly heinous.
And so what’s important is to focus on reform. The secretary-general has laid out a very strong roadmap. And Ambassador Haley is supporting the secretary-general with a luncheon for 120 world leaders, all of whom have signed up for this reform program.
So, the president is going to say the United Nations can’t be effective unless it reforms its bureaucracy and unless it achieves a higher degree of accountability for member states.
You know, some member states are actually trying to infiltrate and subvert some really key organizations within the UN. For example, the telecommunications efforts within the UN are being subverted by a country that actually wants to dominate that field and wants to restrict the flow of information.
STEPHANOPOULOS: A pretty stunning headline in the Wall Street Journal right now. I want to put it up on the screen. It says, “The Trump Administration Seeks to Avoid Withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, International Climate Officials Say.”
Here’s what the article says. “Trump administration officials said Saturday the U.S. would not pull out of the Paris agreement, offering to reengage in the international deal to fight climate change, according to multiple officials at a global warming summit.”
So is it, indeed possible the United States is not going to withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement?
MCMASTER: So what the president has said is that we are withdrawing from the Paris Accord. He left the door open to reentering at some later time if there can be a better deal for the United States.
I mean, the president’s objection to Paris was not that he’s against the environment or the climate. In fact, he made a pledge — if you go back to his speech, he said, we are renewing our commitment to have the cleanest air, the cleanest water to address issues associated with the environment and global warming.
But that — that agreement was not good for the environment. It gave the biggest polluters, the biggest carbon emitters, a free ride. And so we also want to emphasize energy security. And then also clean fossil fuels. Clean fossil fuels continue to lift millions of out poverty around the world.
So what the president wants is a more effective approach to energy and the climate.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Right. But it — but the president was very clear in that statement. He said the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. Of course, that withdrawal can’t take place until 2020.
So you’re saying if you can re-negotiate better terms before 2020, the U.S. will not withdraw?
MCMASTER: I would just go back to what the president said. And, of course, he’s open to any discussions that will help us improve the environment, that will help us ensure energy security and will advance our prosperity and the prosperity of American workers and American businesses.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So it is possible the United States would stay in if you can get a new agreement?
MCMASTER: If there’s an agreement that benefits the American people, certainly.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s talk about North Korea. The president tweeting about that overnight, as well. He said he spoke with President Moon of South Korea last night, asked him how rocket man is doing. Long gas lines forming in North Korea, too bad.
I assume rocket man is Kim Jong-un?
MCMASTER: Well, it’s — it appears to be so. That is where the rockets and missiles are coming from, is North Korea.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What does the president mean by the sanctions passed this week were not a big deal, nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen?
What ultimately will have to happen?
MCMASTER: Well, we all have our doubts about whether or not that’s going to be enough. And so we have to prepare all options. We have to make sure all options are under development to ensure that this regime cannot threaten the world with a nuclear weapon.
And so, that’s what we’re endeavoring to do, is to maximize pressure through sanctions, recognizing this is a very significant, but not a decisive step.
Remember, these sanctions have just been now put in place, as well. So the critical thing is going to be to get all countries, every one to do all they can to enforce those sanctions, to do everything they can, short of a military conflict, to resolve this problem.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But do you see any evidence at all, general, any evidence that Kim Jong-un is ever going to give up his nuclear weapons?
MCMASTER: Well, he’s going to have to give up his nuclear weapons, because the president has said that he is not going to tolerate this regime threatening the United States and our citizens with a nuclear weapon.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you’re saying that if he doesn’t give up those nuclear weapons, the president will strike?
MCMASTER: He’s been very clear about that, that all options are on the table.
STEPHANOPOULOS: On the Iran nuclear agreement, General McMaster, you know the president promised to rip that up during the campaign. He’s been under great pressure from our allies, from Theresa May, from the president of France, from the U.N. secretary-general, not to abandon that Iran nuclear deal.
What’s going to happen?
MCMASTER: Well, as the president said, it is the worst deal ever. I mean it was not good for the world based on, really, what it gave the Iranians, all the benefits up front.
The enforcement mechanisms have been executed in a very weak way. So it’s going to be very important to verify that Iran isn’t continuing to do what it had been doing already.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But they are complying with the agreement.
MCMASTER: — spinning too many centrifuges, having too much heavy water.
So enforcing is really going to be critical. And what we have to make sure is that no deal can provide cover for the Iranian regime to develop a nuclear weapon in a clandestine manner while they’re reaping all of the benefits of this deal.
Meanwhile, look what Iran is doing in the region. Iran is engaged in a broad range of destabilizing behavior that he created and is perpetuating a humanitarian and political catastrophe in the greater Middle East.
They are perpetuating this cycle of violence with ISIS and al-Nusra and other terrorist groups in a way that is keeping the Arab world perpetually weak and enmeshed in conflict.
They are using terrorist groups and militia proxies across the region to advance their interests and to threaten their neighbors.
This is the kind of behavior that has to be confronted around the deal and, where it’s appropriate, within the deal.
STEPHANOPOULOS: General, if we could get that kind of a deal with North Korea, we’d take it, wouldn’t we?
MCMASTER: No, I don’t think so. I think we recognize that there are some significant pitfalls in this deal. What the problem is in North Korea has been for years is, as you know, we’ve negotiated with North Korea before. North Korea has then entered into these weak agreements and then immediately breaks those agreements.
But what those agreements have done in the past for North Korea is locked in the status quo as the new normal and allowed them to continue to develop their programs. That’s why we are, with North Korea, where we are now.
And so we need a fundamentally different approach with North Korea.
We made — you know, we may have the opportunity to engage in talks, but they’d better be under some fundamentally different conditions than they’ve — than we’ve begun those talks in the past.
STEPHANOPOULOS: General McMaster, thanks for your time this morning.
MCMASTER: Thank you, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: More now from the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Adam Schiff.
Congressman Schiff, thank you for joining us this morning.
Let’s start with North Korea right there.
The General saying that North Korea is going to have to get rid of their nuclear weapons or face a military strike.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: My response is I think that we’re doing what we need to do, which is tightening the economic noose around North Korea. We’re going to need to make sure that China fully complies, because when we lose our focus, China goes back to business as usual.
And with each provocation by the North, we have to up the economic pressure and ultimately force them to the table.
I think that’s the only way of resolving this. And right now, I think at the United Nations, we need to not only make sure that those that have agreed to these sanctions live up to them, but, also underscore that we are willing to sit down at the table, we are willing to resolve this diplomatically.
We need everyone working together on this. And we can’t have the president of the United States calling our allies appeasers. We can’t have him acting, frankly, in conflict with his own secretary of State, the secretary of Defense.
This is going to be hard to accomplish and we all need to be pulling in the same direction.
Right now, too often, General McMaster is talking about a president not that we have, but one that he wishes we had. And instead, we have a president who is taking steps, through his pronouncements and his Tweets, that can be very counter-productive.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It does seem that President Trump may be trying to find a way to stay in the Paris climate change agreement.
SCHIFF: Well, I think that would be wonderful. It’s very difficult to tell day to day what the administration intends with climate, with the Dreamers, and any host of other issues.
But look, we should invite the administration and encourage the administration to reconsider. I think it was probably the single biggest relinquishment of American leadership when the president basically said we’re walking off the world stage on climate.
If they can be enticed back, I think that’s very positive. I don’t know why it it’s so hard for this administration, whether it’s on climate or on Iran or on our strategy of defeating ISIS, to acknowledge that the prior administration did some things right.
I’m struck, in listening to General McMaster right now, George, about how much that secret strategy that the president had of defeating ISIS that we were going to hear about in 30 days, turns out to be the Obama administration’s strategy. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
We can certainly make improvements on what the last administration did. But they did lay some important building blocks. And I think that it’s going to be very different for this administration, in dealing with North Korea, to say that we’re going to renege on the nuclear deal with Iran, because those issues are also interconnected.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Your committee, of course, is looking at Russian interference in our election. We learned this week that Facebook has turned over evidence to Special Counsel Robert Mueller that entities connected to Russia bought at least $150,000 in targeted ads during last year’s presidential campaign, information they have not turned over to your committee.
SCHIFF: We are requesting a lot more information from Facebook. And we have received some information. But there a lot of unanswered questions. I don’t think that Facebook is reluctant to provide information to us because they think it would conflict with special counsel. I don’t think it would conflict at all.
There are are issues about what legal process we need to use to get this information from Facebook. But frankly, I am distressed that it has taken us this long to be informed that the Russians had paid for at least $100,000 of ads designed to try to influence our electoral process. And when you look at the content of those ads, it really underscores what the intelligence community said earlier, and that is the Russians were really aiming to divide us, to sew discord, to effectively set one American against another on some of the most divisive issues that we have.
All Americans, all patriotic Americans of both parties ought to be outraged by that. And we need to know the full extent of their use of social media to influence us from Facebook, from Twitter, from Google, from any social media or search engine. They need to be fully forthcoming. And I’m confident they will. I think, frankly, they need to come and testify before congress because there’s a lot we need to know about this.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Real tweet storm from the president this morning, including a re-tweet, which showed — I want to put it up on the screen right now, which showed President Trump swinging a golf ball, whacking it right into the back of Hillary Clinton. She goes down right there. Kind of surprising that he — maybe it’s not surprising, but kind of alarming tweet right there.
Does it make you question how real this outreach to Democrats was this week?
SCHIFF: Well, it doesn’t make me question that because I think all of us recognize that outreach for what it is, and that’s purely transactional, purely something that will come up from time to time when the president decides it’s in his personal interest to work with Democrats.
This is a president, look, who has no ideology. He’s not conservative. He’s not liberal. The only consistent theme seems to be he’s pro-Trump. He’s for his own personal interests. Sometimes those interests will align. And we shouldn’t cut off our nose to spite our face where they do align, where it makes sense for the American people. We should take advantage of that transactional opportunity.
It is distressing, though, to have a president that, frankly, will tweet and re-tweet things as juvenile as that. It doesn’t help, I think, in terms of his stature. It doesn’t help in terms of the stature of our whole country. So, that’s a wholly separate issue.
But where the president decides it’s within his interest to work with us, we stand ready to make
progress on behalf of the American people.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Schiff, thanks for your time this morning.
SCHIFF: Thanks, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: When we come back, the Roundtable is ready to weigh in on that Chinese dinner deal with the Democrats. Is it real? Can it last? Or will the backlash bring it down? That debate is next.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you say to Republicans who are looking at your outreach to Democrats and say what’s going on here?
TRUMP: Well, many Republicans really like it. And I’m a republican through and through, but I’m also finding that sometimes to get things through, it’s not working with that way.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D) NEW YORK: He likes us. He likes me, any way.
Here’s what I told him. I said, Mr. President, you’re much better off if you can sometimes step right, and sometimes step left. If you have to step in just one direction, your boxed. He gets that.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Trump and Schumer seem ready to deal. Will the partnership last and get results? Our Roundtable breaks it all down when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN, (R) WISCONSIN: It was a discussion, not an agreement or a negotiation. Not fix DACA without fixing the root cause of our problem. We do not have control of our borders. So, we need border security and enforcement as part of any agreement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Speaker Ryan not all that comfortable after President Trump’s dinner with the Democrats. Let’s talk about what happened, what did not happen with our chief White House correspondent Jon Karl, welcome back; Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation; Republican strategist Alex Castellanos, also an ABC News contributor; Patrick Gaspard, vice president of The Open Society Foundations and former Obama White House political affairs director; and Republican strategist Alice Stewart, CNN political commentator.
And Jon, let’s begin with that dinner. I mean, second week in a row where the president reaches out to Democrats. He doesn’t get the final deal this time, but clearly seemed to know what he wanted and what he wanted to signal.
JON KARL, ABC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Absolutely. And, look, the bottom line is Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell could not deliver the votes. They couldn’t deliver the votes on the debt ceiling, and they certainly can’t deliver the votes on doing something on DACA.
So, the president needed to reach out to Democrats. And look what he’s done. George, September was supposed to be the month of government shutdown, of default, of chaos. President Trump right now is actually — he’s won September. And he’s won it with the help of Democrats.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But can he fade the heat from his base that was enraged by the reports of that dinner?
ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I’m not so sure the base was that enraged at all. A lot of the Trumpian leadership, the Breitbartians, the people who make money generating eyeballs on the internet, yeah, sure, they were outraged.
But Trump voters are sticking with him because he’s still the only alternative to two identical parties in Washington that are Washington establishment, a Democratic Party that’s anti-Trump and crazy left, and a Republican Party that is so establishment, it’s saving ObamaCare.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Patrick Gaspard, Democrats basically trust Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to get a good deal.
But will they stick by that when it actually comes down to something on paper that they have to support?
PATRICK GASPARD, PRESIDENT, OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATIONS: Look, you know, you have to admire, as a Democrat, Chuck and Nancy, as Donald Trump calls them. They are playing a weak hand exceedingly well.
But under Donald Trump, the Oval Office has become a zero gravity chamber. This is somebody that…
STEPHANOPOULOS: Zero gravity?
GASPARD: A zero gravity chamber. This president is unmoored and it’s hard to imagine the durability of a deal that’s organized through a politics of performance instead of a politics of principle.
So it’s hard (INAUDIBLE)…
STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s why I wonder, Alison, the president just said he still wants to get the wall, just maybe not part of this agreement on DACA. He also seemed to have some disagreements with the Democrats on whether there would be a path to citizenship.
Let’s talk — setting aside the broader approach, is there — can — it actually a deal to be had on immigration right now?
ALISON STEWART, “WASHINGTON POST”: There is. I think real — he’s realizing now, look, the majority of Americans want to accommodate Dreamers. We have a large percentage, whether it’s citizenship or legal status, he needs to recognize that something needs to be done to help.
And I think we have Chuck and Nancy gone from demonized to deal makers, I think, is a step in the right direction for this administration, because Republicans haven’t been able to make deals with regard to health care or tax reform or anything.
But here’s difficulty the president has. If he is able to make a deal with Republicans and/or with Democrats, to what end?
If he can’t get the wall in there and if he can’t get some kind of border security or either by — or The RAISE Act, what is the game for Republicans?
And there will be tremendous backlash from the Breitbarts and from the Steve Kings of the world.
So while it’s important to broaden his base, he needs to include something in this that helps to solidify his hard core base.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, Katrina, can this partnership last?
Is it a partnership?
KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, EDITOR AND PUBLISHER, “THE NATION”: It’s a tactical alliance. Deeply skeptical. I think, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, he used to say trust but verify. Distrust, distrust, test, exploit, window of opportunity to help the Dreamers.
But as Patrick said, I think this doesn’t hold. I think you have fundamentally two parties. One party this past week continues to try to strip millions of Americans of health coverage. The other party is putting out there a Medicaid for All bill, which would cover millions.
There are fundamental differences. Tax deform, which the Republicans what to do, has been put on hold.
But we see broad cuts to social safety programs, to all kinds of health and financial and other regulations, which have made this country safer in the last period.
So I would say let the barkers like Ann Coulter whiplash themselves into political gyrations. Look, Breitbart calls him “Amnesty Don.”
I do think it’s the — it’s out of — it’s still too early to tell if he loses his base. I think he has a shrinking base, but it could be political suicide. Or the base goes with Trump’s party into 2018, but Trump’s party doesn’t…
JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: But George, you know, I’ve talked to top White House officials who say that citizenship as part of the Dreamers resolution is not a red line for the president. He could sign onto something…
VANDEN HEUVEL: But…
KARL: — that would ultimately give citizenship…
STEPHANOPOULOS: But will Republicans…
STEPHANOPOULOS: — follow him on that?
KARL: Exactly. But, also the question is Democrats, because they — there’s going to be no wall funding as part of this deal, but he does want money for border security. He does want…
STEPHANOPOULOS: And enforcement is the tough one.
KARL: But — enforcement. And what he wants is he wants more ICE agents, thousands of more ICE agents. This is going to be portrayed as the deportation force by Democrats.
Will Democrats sign onto that?
STEPHANOPOULOS: It’s a non-starter.
GASPARD: But just on the roar of politics, if you’re sitting in Congress, you’re not paying attention to Republicans and Democrats. You’re looking at those Independent numbers as you go into that midterm election.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
GASPARD: Right now, voters who stayed with Trump through the primary and the general election, 98 percent approval.
For those who only voted for him in the general, 66 percent approval amongst those Republicans.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And that’s what I wanted to bring in…
GASPARD: And only 24 percent identifying as Republicans now, the lowest number (INAUDIBLE)…
STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s what I want to bring to Alex Castellanos.
Katrina talks about a two party system. Donald Trump may be now setting up a three party system.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That’s right.
CASTELLANOS: I think we’ve become Europe. I think we’ve become at least a three party democracy. We have — Donald Trump has taken over the Republican Party and made it — remade it in his image. It’s a nationalist, populist, outsiders party, leaving an insider Democratic crazy left party and a hollow Republican Party establishment that has said, you know, we’ve actually figured out how to make ObamaCare more popular trying to kill it.
VANDEN HEUVEL: But, wait…
CASTELLANOS: So this…
VANDEN HEUVEL: — (INAUDIBLE) Alex.
CASTELLANOS: But this — but look…
CASTELLANOS: Trump can’t win with 50 percent.
VANDEN HEUVEL: But I…
CASTELLANOS: But he’s figured out that if it’s a three party race in 2020, he can win with 40.
VANDEN HEUVEL: First of all, it’s a…
CASTELLANOS: He’ll always win 40. And that’s the geometry. Republicans may take a beating in 2018, but you’re right, Donald Trump won’t.
VANDEN HEUVEL: First of all, Trump is not fully untethered from GOP orthodoxies. Look at the rollback…
CASTELLANOS: …the girl in the red dress, he’ll dance with the girl in the Democratic blue
VANDEN HEUVEL: The Democratic Party has its own struggles. There’s a fight within the Democratic Party now. There’s an ascendant populist wing. I would argue that its proposals are common sense, humane, and majority — fight for $15, on environmental. This health care, Medicare for all is a very popular bill. And I think to attack it is going to be very tough for people who have family members on Medicare, who have already tried to say Obamacare is socialist and who — whose
tax policies are — whose tax policies are about cutting taxes…
STEPHANPOULOS: Tsupports Medicare for all?
STEWART: What he supports is repealing and replacing Obamacare with what does that mean? We still don’t know.
Look, Bernie Sanders and his effort this week to talk about Medicare for all, this is what Democrats have always wanted, a pathway to universal health. And this is one step in that direction.
I will hand it to Democrats, they’re at least unified on this. I think if nothing else, I think this will send a message to Republicans,we need to get on board with what exactly we want to do to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Right now, it’s the Graham-Cassidy bill, which is a great effort to help use some of these funds to block grant money to the states. That is a good effort. But I think now that Bernie Sanders and a majority — a large majority of Democrats have something on paper that makes sense to them, that should put fuel in the fire for Republicans.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to pick up on that one, because you just mentioned something, that Graham-Cassidy bill. We’d all assumed that repeal and replace is dead. This effort is coming back. There’s a September 30 deadline. Can it actually past?
KARL: Well, they still need 50 votes. And you’re not going to have Rand Paul. He’s going to be against anything. You’re not going to have Susan Collins. So, it may all come down to one Senator, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
But there is a renewed effort. And part of this I think is driven by the fact that Trump has shown
a willingness to work with Democrats. So, if the Republicans can’t do this, he’ll strike a deal with
Democrats that they really won’t like.
But on Bernie Sanders, I think the fascinating thing here is Bernie Sanders is still not a Democrat, but this is Bernie Sanders’ party now. His single payer plan has got 15 other co-sponsors. When he did this year after year in the senate, nobody was on board. Now any possible Democratic
presidential candidate in the senate is a co-sponsor.
VANDEN HEUVEL: We have been fixed a little on Hillary Clinton’s book this past week, but it’s Bernie Sanders.
KARL: He won.
VANDEN HEUVEL: Who has changed not only the dynamics of our politics, but made what once seemed marginal, not at The Nation, possible, politically possible. And look at those who are supporting it, many of them are going to be 2020 contenders.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And that’s what I want to get to, that’s where the energy is on the Democratic side right now. Patrick, let me bring this to you. Probably going to have 20 to 25 Democratic candidates for president in 2020. But I think you could make the argument that as of today, the two front-runners are Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. What does that say about the Democratic…
GASPARD: Look, I worked for a guy in 2008 who a few weeks before he announced his candidacy there were national stories about who might run, who would run, who could ultimately win and he was not featured in most of those stories. We were 25 points down in Iowa and ended up winning. So, I would not put a lot of stock in — who is polling well right now today.
And I hope that there are 20 or 25 candidate who run for the Democratic nomination, because as
the Republicans showed in their last contest, the more ideas are litigated inside of primaries, the more alignment that you have in a general election.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to bring that to Alex Castellanos: did the president guarantee — all but guarantee a primary fight in 2020 if he indeed runs with what happened in the last 10 days?
CASTELLANOS: I think he has got a guaranteed primary fight within the part from the freedom caucus types. And I Think he’s also guaranteed a third party Republican establishment candidacy in the general election, a John Kasich, a Bloomberg, somebody who is defending the principles of the Republican Party even though they don’t know what they are anymore.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How much longer is the Republican leadership — Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan in particular, going to stand behind President Trump?
STEWART: Well, I think right now they’re facing a lot of pressure to really stand for something and get something done. They’re getting a lot of pushback for their inability to get something done with regard to repeal and replace Obamacare and tax reform. And budget.
Look, they either need to get on board or actually get out of the way. And I think right now, if they don’t get on board with the president, clearly, the president is willing to work across the aisle to get things done. And if that’s what’s — that’s what he’s going to do, I think it’s in the best interest of…
STEPHANOPOULOS: …but it did get out of the way, Jon Karl, they’re not going to get anything done on tax reform, which is their number one objective right now.
KARL: They’re utterly divided on that.
And look, president — Paul Ryan had the opportunity to get to the right of President Trump on
immigration this week. I mean, he had the opportunity to get out there and say, we need, you know, we need wall funding. We need tougher border security. So, it’s been a different opportunity for him to get to some of that Republican — Republican base that had been so skeptical of him.
Breitbart is praising Paul Ryan.
VANDEN HEUVEL: Yeah, I mean, there’s a civil war inside the Republican Party. But the Democrats are not going to cut deals on tax reform. I mean, the thing that Trump put out there, the one-pager, is a recipe for just more inequality and a failure to help working people, and to share…
STEPHANOPOULOS: He said taxes are going to go up on the wealthy.
VANDEN HEUVEL: There is a — but, you know. He didn’t really say that clearly. He pulled it back. I think we’re overreading Trump’s kind of not being a Republican. He has given the Republicans an enormous amount, an enormous amount….
CASTELLANOS: Be careful. Donald Trump is on his way to becoming as much your problem as he is the Republicans. Enjoy.
VANDEN HEUVEL: Exploit this moment to help dreamers and find other opportunities.
But I think it’s limited. I think it’s transactional. His loyalty, political loyalty is a one-way street.
GASPARD: This is not about ideology or partisanship for him. Donald Trump is like a sun flower. And he’s going to lean wherever there is some kind of adulation. And right now that’s coming from Chuck and Nancy, it’s because…
KARL: And he wants a deal.
VANDEN HEUVEL: And the media, which is praising him, for trying to find deals.
KARL: There it is.
GASPARD: We are more likely with this panel to influence Donald Trump than anything that’s happened inside of the chambers of congress.
STEWART: But at the same time we have the problem of Chuck and Nancy, 67 years of wheeling and dealing in Washington. Donald Trump, a lifetime of wheeling and dealing in business. I think the question is who is going to pull the the rug out from underneath the other one first? That’s the question.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And on that question, we’re going to have to end this. Actually, a very good question to end this conversation.
When we come back, more of my exclusive interview with the British Prime Minister Theresa May.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We will be right back with more from British Prime Minister Theresa May. And for the latest politics anytime, download the ABC News app and sign up for breaking news alerts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAY: Thank you for inviting me so soon after your inauguration. The invitation is an indication of the strength and importance of the special relationship that exists between our two countries, a relationship based on the bonds of history, of family, kinship and common interests.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: British Prime Minister Theresa May was the first foreign leader to meet with President Trump back in January. And that hand in hand walk at the White House a vivid symbol of the special relationship.
We talked more about that personal and political relationship and her visit to New York this week in our Downing Street interview.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You’re coming to the United States this week. You’re speaking to the United Nations. You’re relatively unknown to most Americans.
What’s the most important thing you want them to know about what you’re trying to achieve?
MAY: Well, what I’m — there are two things. One is this issue of ensuring that we can stop terrorists from plotting online, plotting on the Internet and that we can stop the spread of the hateful extremist ideology which can inspire terrorism. I think that’s really important for us.
And another issue I’m going to be talking about is something that most people probably don’t think about, don’t think happens. It’s what I call modern slavery, which is when people are being effectively taken into servitude, into slavery, for sexual exploitation or labor exploitation.
It’s happening under our noses.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You’ve been prime minister for a little over a year right now, came in after the Brexit vote, became prime minister even though you were against Brexit.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So were you wrong about that?
MAY: I was– what I said at the time, before the referendum vote was taken, was that on balance I thought it was right to remain in, but the sky wouldn’t fall in if we left the European Union.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But now you have to make it happen.
MAY: Now I’m– now I’m making it happen. That’s right.
And obviously we’re in the negotiations. But now I think we must take the opportunities that come from Brexit.
Some people look at Brexit and think that it was about the UK turning inward. It wasn’t. It’s about us actually looking out around the rest of the world, but ensuring we can control our own laws, our money and our borders.
STEPHANOPOULOS: A lot of other people look at it and say, “It’s never gonna happen.”
MAY: It will happen. We’re in the negotiations. The — and we’re looking at the deal that we can do, the way that we can come to an agreement with the the EU for the future, for our future relationship in trading terms. But what this enables us to do is actually– by having our own control is do our own trade deals. Hence we’re talking to the United States. And President Trump is very enthusiastic about a trade deal with — between the UK and the U.S., and I am too.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It has taken its toll on your government. You almost lost the prime ministership back in June. And the former Conservative minister, now newspaper editor, George Osborne, has said you’re a “dead woman walking,” that passing Brexit would be basically your last act. Your response?
MAY: My — I’m going to pass Brexit. I’m going to make sure that Brexit happens because the British people voted for it. And I think it’s really important that politicians actually do respond and do listen to people. We gave the public the choice. They made their choice. And that’s why I think it’s important…
STEPHANOPOULOS: And after that you’d still be prime minister?
MAY: Well, the next election isn’t going to be until after– we have the Brexit, until after we withdraw from the European Union.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You were the first foreign leader to meet with President Trump. How do you get on with him?
MAY: I do get on with him. And of course, as you know, President Trump has — actually has an affection for the United Kingdom. Like many Americans, he has family connections with the United Kingdom. And we work very well together.
The UK and the U.S. have always had a special relationship and worked well together.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You say that President Trump has affection for England. It doesn’t appear that the British people have much affection for him. I saw a recent poll in June, only 22 percent of the British people have confidence in him to do the right thing for the world. What do you say to your fellow Britishers
MAY: Well, what I say is that they should see what President Trump has done. I mean let me give you one example, because I know a number of people were concerned before he became president about his statements about America’s commitment to NATO. NATO has been the bedrock of Europe security. I was very pleased when I came over to see him, shortly after his inauguration, that he gave an absolute 100 percent commitment to NATO. America continues to stand by us in supporting that security and ensuring that security of Europe.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You’ve also got the travel ban, his comments after Charlottesville, pulling out of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. Big differences.
MAY: Well, I think the point about the special relationship between the UK and the U.S. is that when we do disagree we’re able to say so, and pretty bluntly. And I’m — for example, on the Paris issue that you talk about, the Paris Climate Change Agreement, I’ve made very clear I was dismayed when America decided to pull out of that. And I– as I’ve said to President Trump, I hope that they’ll be able — able to find a way for America to come back into the agreement.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you still think he’ll be able to come here for a state visit or is that just not gonna happen?
MAY: No, Her Majesty the Queen issued the invitation. The president has accepted it. It’s just a question of getting dates to– and sorting out the logistics.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So it has nothing to do with the opposition here in the United Kingdom?
MAY: No, this is — this is about finding dates when — the invitation was issued and the invitation has been accepted.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Another missile test from North Korea just yesterday. Are we going to have to just learn to live with the idea that North Korea’s gonna have nuclear weapons forever?
MAY: Look, what we have seen in recent weeks, and indeed before that, is continuing provocation from North Korea with illegal actions. These are illegal tests that they’re taking out — carrying out. I think it’s significant that we saw at the United Nations Security Council that unity of everybody coming together around the table, including Russia and China, and agreeing to the stricter sanctions that have recently been agreed…
STEPHANOPOULOS: But these are still baby steps aren’t they?
MAY: These are important. These are important steps. We’re continuing to put pressure on North Korea to stop what is illegal activity.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to switch topics to Russia now. There are reports that British intelligence were the first to tip off U.S. intelligence to the idea that Russia was interfering in the United States election. Russia’s also interfered in the French elections, interfered in the German elections. Do you think they interfered in the Brexit election as well?
MAY: I — there’s no sign of that. But the point that you make about interfering in elections is a very important one, and a very clear message should go that no country should be interfering in another country’s elections. These elections should be free and fair, the view of the people
STEPHANOPOULOS: Can the West work with Putin?
MAY: Well, the West is working with Putin. I mean the United States and Russia, obviously, are trying to find solutions in relation to Syria.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But do you think he’s a reliable partner there?
MAY: Well, I think what is important is that engagement takes place in the interests of the region and the interests of the world.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Hillary Clinton has a new book out this week, looking back at the election, has called what happened, quite candid in many places. And one of the things she talks about is being a woman in politics. She says it’s not easy. In her own words, she said it’s excruciating and can be humiliating. Do you identify with that?
MAY: Look, I’ve — I’ve always approached my — being in politics in a very simple way, and think — not think about that I’m a woman in politics in the sense of — of how I’m being treated by others, but just get on with the job that I’m doing. And that’s what– that’s what I do.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, we were getting a little tour of this — of 10 Downing Street before you came in, and we’re told that Margaret Thatcher left a little mark up in the corner of — of that door. A little Thatcher there. What mark do you intend to leave on 10 Downing Street?
MAY: Well, I– I’m– I’m– I’m not sure I’m going to go ’round destroying the furniture or the walls with putting marks in or anything like that. Look, I just– I– I’m here as prime minister. I’m getting on with the job, dealing with the challenges that we face here in the United Kingdom, some of those are challenges that we face like ensuring we get Brexit right. But actually there are other challenges, which is shared across the world, dealing with terrorism, dealing with modern slavery, ensuring we have free trade around the world that brings prosperity and jobs to people. Those are the challenges we’re facing.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Thank you for your time today.
MAY: Thank you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It sounds like the British prime minister may welcome that news from the White House on Paris climate change this morning if indeed it does hold. We’ll be right back.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And we will be right back afer this from our ABC stations.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That is all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out World News Tonight. And I’ll see you tomorrow on GMA.