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INSIDE POLITICS

North Korea, Trade at Top of Trump's Agenda in Asia; Trump "Disappointed" In Justice Department; Brazile Considered Replacing Clinton with Biden; Breaking Down Trump's Economic Numbers; New GOP Plan Would Cut Taxes, Limit Popular Deductions. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired November 5, 2017 - 08:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[08:00:18] JOHN KING, CNN HOST (voice-over): A big Asia trip. Stop one, today in Japan.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am certain that the future for America, for Japan, and for our cherished allies has never, ever looked brighter.

KING: Plus, at the table when a campaign aide pitches a trip to meet with top Russians.

TRUMP: I don't remember much about that meeting. It was a very unimportant meeting. Took place a long time -- don't remember much about it.

KING: And Republicans try to sell their tax cut plan. It helps big business, but scales back some hugely popular deductions.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We're making things so simple, you can do your taxes on a form the size of a postcard.

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

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King. To our viewers in the United States and around the world, thank you for sharing your Sunday.

Remember last year when a fainting spell raised questions about Hillary Clinton's health? In an explosive new book, the then- Democratic Party chairwoman said she considered trying to replace Clinton with Joe Biden.

Plus, the new Republican tax cut plan faces its first big test -- a committee in the House amid fierce lobbying over plans to scale back several very popular tax deductions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: With this plan, the typical family of four will save $1,182 a year on their taxes. With this plan, we are getting rid of loopholes for special interests, and we are leveling the playing field.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Up first, though, President Trump on a first and consequential trip to Asia. Japan is stop one of five, and in an speech in an American air base, the commander-in-chief sent an early trip message to North Korea.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Together with our allies, America's warriors are prepared to defend our nation, using the full range of our unmatched capabilities. No one, no dictator, no regime, and no nation, should underestimate ever American resolve. Every once in a while in the past, they underestimated us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: With us this Sunday to share their reporting and their insights, CNN's Nia-Malika Henderson, Michael Shear of "The New York Times", CNN's Phil Mattingly, and Mary Katharine Ham of "The Federalist".

It is Sunday evening now in Japan where the president not long ago wrapped up dinner with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. It was a round of golf before that. Both leaders stressing their personal friendship as key to working out differences on trade and security issues.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We are in the midst of having very major discussions on many subjects, including North Korea and trade and other things. We like each other. And our countries like each other. And I don't think we've ever been closer to Japan than we are right now.

So it's a great honor, believe me. It's a great honor. We're going to have dinner tonight, where I think we'll insult everybody by continuing to talk about trade.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: CNN's Sara Murray is traveling with the president who is likely to feel more welcome, isn't he, Sarah, in Asia than he was on his early trips to Europe.

SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think that's probably right. Their relationships were certainly more fraught with many European leaders than the Asian leaders he's meeting.

And Shinzo Abe is a great example. The president and prime minister have had a very warm relationship. Abe has certainly gone out of his way to keep in touch regularly with the president and it's telling the way they sort of coordinated the beginning of this trip. He wanted to make President Trump feel comfortable.

That's why they began with a round of golf, as well as with this dinner with their spouses. All of that before they get down to sort of the more official business tomorrow. That's when they're going to have the formal bilateral meeting as well as the press conference.

But it gives you an indication, and it gives other world leaders an indication of sort of how to work this president, how to build a rapport with him. It's telling him that Abe and even Chinese President Xi Jinping have been able to create these sort of bonds with President Trump in a way that we haven't seen with other world leaders in Europe. But even in a way we haven't necessarily seen from leaders in South Korea, John.

KING: Sara Murray with the President -- Sara, appreciate it. Enjoy the 12 days ahead. Always fun traveling with the president in Asia. Keep your time zone straight.

Let's bring the conversation in the room now.

Sara makes a key point. All diplomacy is personal and for this president even more so. A very good relationship with Abe. He moves on to China, which if you go back to candidate Trump during the campaign, labeled him a currency manipulator, they're raping the United States. Now, a much more friendly, transactional relationship where they're hoping to do some business on North Korea.

What are we looking for as the biggest deliverable or the biggest statement from the president on this trip?

[08:05:04] Is it likely to be a decision? Will they do this while he's actually overseas to put North Korea on the list of state sponsors of terrorism?

MICHAEL SHEAR, REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: They might. There was some indication to -- in briefings to reporters on the plane over to Asia that that will likely happen very soon. There was a question asked whether it was going to actually happen on the trip, or could come maybe a little bit later. I think they seemed to be signaling it will probably come on the trip.

It's largely symbolic. It doesn't really change a whole lot. The North Korean regime is already one of the most heavily sanctioned regimes in the world.

And so, I don't know that it leads to a whole lot. But it's very symbolic. But it's also one of those problems, North Korea and its nuclear ambitions, that is immune to some of the personal relationship-building that the president has done.

So, while he gets high marks for some of these relationships with the Japanese prime minister, with the president of China, you know, the North Korean problem is not going to be solved by a couple of rounds of golf, and -- nor, frankly, is the trade disagreements with some of these nations in Asia, as well. So, you know, good sort of initial start on the personal side, but it's a long 12 days with a lot of problems that are pretty --

KING: That's why it makes it so fascinating. Having done this in the past -- if the other leaders are well aware of the president's domestic situation, they may have a personal friendship with him, but they want to do business with him, they want to understand he can carry weight back home.

Look at these numbers from "The Washington Post." Do you think the president is a strong leader? Yes, 39 percent, 60 percent, no.

Do you think the president will act responsibly? Do you trust the president to act responsibly with North Korea? Thirty-four percent trust a great deal or good deal, 65 percent trust somewhat or not at all, 51 percent say they don't trust the president at all for this.

So, the other world leaders understand the president has got a little bit of a problem politically back home. The president's message, though -- listen to the president's message here. He never mentions the word North Korea here, but he's in the region. He's talking about this issue. He says, Kim Jong-un, look what I've done with ISIS. Think about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We've dealt ISIS one brutal defeat after another. And it's about time.

(CHEERS)

You instill confidence in the hearts of our allies, and you strike fear in the hearts of our enemies. It's the way it should be, isn't it?

(CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: So, what are we looking for?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, I mean, we've already seen a lot of rhetoric from this president, right? I mean, you sort of can't go any further than what he said already, calling the leader of North Korea rocket man or little rocket man, talking about fire and fury like the world has never seen. What we haven't seen is real movement in terms of North Korea curbing their nuclear ambitions, right? Even as he's giving this speech, even as he's been president for the last 10 months. I mean, you talk to experts, they feel like they're moving closer and closer to developing a nuclear weapon that can reach American shores.

So, it's not clear what the Trump doctrine really is in terms of policy. We know what it is in terms of rhetoric. We know what it is in terms of slogan, America first, you know, sort of the nick-naming. But in terms of deliverables, it's not really clear. I think in this, in this -- you know, it's a 13-day trip. We'll see sort of the president in a very kind of symbolic way, presentational. He certainly likes that.

In some ways, he seems more like an American president when he's abroad than he does here. He's certainly more presidential. So, I think that's what we'll see over the next 13 days. What he comes back with in terms of real trade deals and real progress is unclear. We've heard him talk a lot but haven't seen so far deliverables.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So the interesting thing here is the careful balance he has to walk, right? If you talk to leaders or people at embassies dealing in the Asia Pacific for the last decade or so, there has been kind of lust for American leadership. Every time anybody would go over there, every time they would come over here, they would say we need you here. China is no doubt the overarching, kind of growing beast in the room, if you will, in terms of their presence there.

But you need China, as well, when it comes to the North Korea issue. So, you have South China Sea. East China Sea, things like that, Vietnam and Japan care deeply about on these types of issues. So, how do you walk the balance?

Meanwhile, the overarching kind theme that brought thing together for the Obama administration was TPP, was the trade deal. This is how we're going to keep everybody together as we work through all of this. Well, that's no longer on the table right now.

So, as you're working on one-to-one unilateral trade deals with these countries, as we're trying to figure out the North Korea issue, as we're trying to figure out how China operates within the region, while also making a visit to Beijing, where you point out, the U.S. president's domestic standing and compare that to Xi Jinping's domestic standing over the course of the last three weeks, they're in a very different situation.

So, to Nia's point, I think the rhetoric in the region is helpful, given that they want American leadership, they want American power, they have been asking for those things. But what is the end game here, and how do you walk that balance between where China stands currently and where other countries in the region stand currently and obviously with North Korea, kind of overshadowing everything?

[08:10:03] KING: And the overshadowing part is what's in there, because otherwise this trip would be focused -- if you did not have this intractable and escalating North Korean crisis, this trip would be focused on what did the president learn from the campaign to now that gives him such a different view on China? They rape us. Some of them, labeled them a currency manipulator on day one.

Now, he says Xi Jinping is the king of China. And they have a great personal relationship.

(CROSSTALK)

HENDERSON: Yes. Well done, yes.

KING: And they have a great personal relationship. And he thinks behind the scenes that he's getting a lot of help from the Chinese government. Not enough, he would say. But a lot of help on North Korea. Now the challenge -- can he convince people back here who thought he would be tougher on China? Look, they're continuing to help us? We're going to give this a chance?

MARY KATHARINE HAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think, certainly, his supporters have shown they're willing to give him some leeway on these things. And often with Trump, the rhetorical change is bigger than the policy change. I think trade is a perfect example of that. And he thinks he's getting a good relationship with Xi Jinping and they can work together to pressure North Korea. I mean, that's an administration intractable problem.

So, the idea this will be solved in any big way while he's gone, not the case. I think he's comfortable having these face-to-face meetings with other leaders. I think he enjoys that and that rapport matters.

I think folks like Abe and to a lesser extent Macron I think and France have figured out tangling with this guy gives a dopamine hit politically, but working with him the way they have probably gets you a little further. So, we'll see. It's all very slow work in progress. But these are some of his better moments overseas.

KING: And we will see. It's a long trip for the president. He showed some discipline on the way over. Read a quote from George H.W. Bush, writing a new book where George H.W. Bush called him a blowhard. I know he's a blowhard, and the president said I might respond to that when I get home.

We'll see. We'll see if that continues for a little bit.

Everybody, sit tight.

Next, the president says he has no reason to be angry or worried, but two former aides under indictment and there's new evidence that despite months of denials, shows there were Trump campaign aides in touch with Russians.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:15:49] KING: Welcome back.

The president says he is not angry at the big new developments in the Russian meddling investigation. Yet, he also makes no secret of the fact he wishes he could make it all go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I'm really not involved with the Justice Department. I'd like to let it run itself. But honestly, they should be looking at the Democrats. They should be looking at Podesta and all of that dishonesty. They should be looking at a lot of things. And a lot of people are disappointed in the justice department, including me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: In just the past week, quite a bit for the president to wish away. Two top former Trump campaign officials were arraigned on money laundering charges. One campaign foreign policy adviser, Carter Page, told Congress, despite his past denials, that he did meet with Russian government officials during election year trip to Russia. A second campaign foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, cut a plea deal with the special counsel. His campaign email shows superiors encouraged him to take a trip to Russia.

And Papadopoulos at one meeting, you see it right there, suggested to candidate Trump that he could arrange a meeting with Vladimir Putin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I don't remember much about that meeting. It was a very unimportant meeting. Took place a long time. I don't remember much about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: That I don't remember much about it, just days after the president bragged that he has among the world's greatest memories of all-time.

What to make of this in the sense that the president calls the "New York Times" and says I'm not worried, I'm not angry, this is about other people, it's not about me.

From the Trump campaign, you get Carter Page, and George Papadopoulos, self-promoters, not big players in the campaign. If they were doing this stuff, they insist the top Trump people say they were freelancing. However, if you look at the Papadopoulos plea deal, there are some e-mails where people seem to be encouraging him, you know, as long as this is kept at the low level, keep going.

HENDERSON: No, I think that's right. I mean, I think it was a horrible week for Donald Trump, which is why he sort of needed to call "The New York Times" and say there's nothing to see here, because there was so much to see this weekend with folks around him.

Interesting that in that he says, you know, I don't really remember that meeting, but he remembers enough to frame it as unimportant. You know, this whole idea that it was low-level people, this was nothing. There's nothing to see here. But you can tell that this is an administration that is worried. Our reporting shows he was seething and very angry, looking at the TV as these announcements came down. I think the key now is sort of what happens next.

I think what was proven this week, we know very little about what Mueller is doing. The Papadopoulos thing completely out of the blue. Questions now about Sessions. I mean, does he go before Congress again, what does that mean in terms of the president's view of Sessions? Does that mean he might be at risk of being pulled from his post?

So, yes. I mean, it was -- the president is clearly nervous. And he should be.

MATTINGLY: Yes. I'm struck, having covered the campaign, when you watch some of the fallout, whether it'd be Paul Manafort, and granted that was related to things before the campaign or with George Papadopoulos. This idea during the campaign where you just got the sense they were just grabbing anyone who had anything on a potential resume to try and show that they had some type of foreign policy gravitas or some type of foreign policy team.

Look, the beauty of their campaign was, they did it very skeletal. They did it with very little establishment help, if any at all. And that was kind of their shtick and that's why they won. But at various points, they needed to try and show that he could actually be a world leader, he could actually be somebody that could stand firm on the world stage. So, you needed people behind you, traditional campaigns have traditional people with traditional resumes who have been traditionally vetted, and don't make mistakes like perhaps sending e- mails to people about meeting with Russians and things -- just base level mistakes.

And it's one of those things where it's almost like they blundered into this situation out of concern that they just desperately needed to pull something together very quickly. And there was no question, the people that were on these advisory panels that were considered outside advisers were looked at by establishment Republicans as -- to put it bluntly -- kind of jokes. Or people that you shouldn't take seriously. And now, those are the individuals are in part are playing a role in the fact that this is getting deeper and more problematic for the current administration.

SHEAR: But, you know, I think one of the things that the Mueller indictments and the plea agreement with Papadopoulos sort of give the -- elevate the discussion is that to the extent that before, it was the media or President Trump's critics, raising issues about contacts with Russians, the Trump administration could push back on that and say that's all just politics.

[08:20:20] What the special counsel did was they said, no, in documents, in black and white, we, the investigators in this investigation, believe that these contacts with Russian officials were significant, were real, weren't just kind of low-level aides doing nothing but actually involved, you know, contacts that could have -- that involved senior people in the campaign. And so it puts a kind of patina of, you know, seriousness and official on it that previously it was just a matter of the sort of normal back and forth of political discourse.

And so, I think going forward, the more that the special counsel does that, the deeper that this seems.

KING: To that point, the Papadopoulos documents filed in the court say very clearly, we think this is a very tiny piece of a bigger story. And yet, you have an aide in touch with -- says he's in touch with Russians, can get more in touch with Russians, a supervisor who now had to be withdrawn as a nominee for an agriculture department posts, apparently encouraging him in these e-mails.

HENDERSON: Right.

KING: And so, there's more -- and this after months of the president, his attorney general and others saying what context, there were no context, this is all made up.

Which gets to the mind set question of the president here. I get the public relations. Very smart to call "The New York Times" saying this isn't about me, I'm fine here.

But listen again. When you heard the president at the top of the block here about how, I can't meddle with the Justice Department, but, boy, you can tell he wants to. Listen to him in this radio interview, where he leans more into that.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

TRUMP: The saddest thing is that because I'm the president of the United States, I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department. I'm not supposed to be involved with the FBI. I'm not supposed to be doing the kind of things I would love to be doing. And I'm very frustrated by it.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

KING: You know, he's never been elected office before, so if he said that in the first month of the administration, you might say he's still learning the ropes here about how this works and how a president is not only supposed to -- not only say not supposed to meddle, he's not supposed to talk about meddling.

HENDERSON: Right.

KING: But 10 months in when he says things like that, it's an honest snapshot of how frustrated he is by all this.

HAM: Yes, he's certainly frustrated. He's right that it's not on him at this point, and these announcements were not him. But the pitch was, he hires the best people. In fact, he hires many shady and reckless people. And that is coming back to bite them. There was no structure in his campaign, there was no sort of protection of the principle to keep, you know, freelancing away from him.

And then I've always that like I'm sort of unconvinced that there was this giant global conspiracy that the Trump people knew about, and managed to keep secret for this long, despite being reckless. Or that the $100,000 in Facebook ads changed the face of the American democracy. I don't think that's the case, but even so, when you have reckless folks who are not super disciplined talking to the FBI and then, I don't know, during publicity tours on cable news after they talked to House Intelligence Committees without a lawyer, you're going to get some contradictions, and you're going to get yourself in hot water. And it may eventually touch Donald Trump, because there was no structure.

KING: And let's remember, you can blow off Carter Page and George Papadopoulos as low-level people who were self-promoters or whatever, but as you put those pieces of the puzzle together, meetings with Russians or proposed meetings with Russians, Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, in the room, with a Russian lawyer who said she had dirt on Hillary Clinton. So, you -- there are pieces to this that the president wants to go away fastest, not going to.

We'll keep on top of this.

And up next, angry fallout, lots of it, over new revelations in a blockbuster book by Donna Brazile, former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

And politicians say the darndest things, "Saturday Night Live", look -- listen to this, channeling its inner Bernie Sanders and poking a little fun at the Democratic disarray.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to win this thing the Bernie way, which means if I lose, I'll bring everyone else down with me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need this money.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, you need money. I'll tell you how to get money.

Here's what you do. When you go to a gas station, and you see the "take a penny, leave a penny," you always take a penny. That's how I bought my first house.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:28:38] KING: Welcome back.

A new book by the woman who served as Democratic Party chairwoman for the back half of the 2016 presidential campaign contains some blockbuster stuff and is deepening a still raw party divide over the lessons of 2016 and the Democrats' best path forward.

The first excerpt of the new book by Donna Brazile reinvigorated bitterness over Democratic primary process that Bernie Sanders supporters believes was rigged, because Hillary Clinton had so much sway over the national party apparatus. Now, the flare up is over a part in the book, where Brazile says, listen to this, she actively considered using her authority as chairwoman to try to replace Clinton as the party's nominee.

According to the "Washington Post", which has an early copy of the book, Brazile considered asking the Democratic National Committee to replace Clinton and her running mate, Tim Kaine, with a ticket of Vice President Joe Biden and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. The impetus was this video of Secretary Clinton fainting as she left the 9/11 memorial ceremonies last year.

Brazile, according to "The Post" writes that, in the end, I thought of Hillary and all of the women in the country who were so proud of and excited about her, I could not do that to them, do this to them.

More than 40 Clinton campaign staffers responded yesterday with an open letter.

[08:29:50] "We were shocked to learn the news that Donna Brazile actively considered overturning the will of the Democratic voters by attempting to replace Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine as the Democratic presidential and vice presidential nominees," the letter reads in part.

It goes on to say this, "It is particularly troubling and puzzling that she would seemingly buy into false Russian-fueled propaganda spread by both the Russians and our opponent about our candidate's health."

Wow. This has set off a boom in the Democratic Party, which had a pretty good fight going on anyway. Brazile's point about the video there, she says in the book at the time she thought the campaign was anemic, anyway. That it lacked passion, that it lacked direction.

She also says that when she called to find out what happened, she was lied to. One of many times she says she was lied to by the Clinton campaign.

Does this matter? Is this one person's story about a campaign and this too shall pass, or is this yet again a Democratic Party -- we focus on Trump and the Republicans all the time -- that has just as much dysfunction and disarray?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. I mean it is Donna Brazile essentially burning down the house that she partly built, that the Clintons partly built as well. Obama sort of didn't necessarily pay much attention to the party, to the DNC.

People so angry -- I mean, I'm sure we've all been talking to Democrats over these last days about the establishment Democrats very angry at Donna Brazile. I think she has points to make and real valid points about the DNC's role, about the party in general, about its treatment of her and also its treatment of African-American voters -- right?

I mean that's one of the things she talked about in the book, according to that excerpt, telling the sort of men who were at the center, and the power center of the Clinton campaign, you know, I'm not Patsy the slave, right?

I mean this is some stark language and a real, I think, critique on her part of how the Democratic Party in some ways didn't pay enough attention to that Obama coalition.

And so, yes. I mean she's got, you know, shade for DWS. She's got shade for Obama. She's got shade for all of the upper level folks in the Clinton campaign, too and Clinton, as well. She says Clinton didn't ever really call her until months later and she felt like she deserved more respect. And this is her bout to get that.

And, you know, it's also her bit that we're in a different era in terms of who the Democratic Party stars are, right. She seemed to be siding with Bernie Sanders, talking about Biden and Booker there. It's a new day.

And she's somewhat setting herself up maybe for 2020 in terms of being a relevant person in the party.

MICHAEL SHEAR, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": You know, I think more than the individual allegations that she makes, which were obviously kind of explosive within the party and people are chitter-chattering about, the two things that are interesting to me are one, that it really in an era where Democrats would like to think of themselves as completely unified in opposition to Donald Trump. The resistance being all kind of one -- speaking in one voice, this clearly shows the cleavage that we've all been talking about for years.

It's still, if anything, deeper in the Democratic Party. And it portends some difficult things ahead, as they try to win back Congress and as they try to win back the presidency.

It also is probably the clearest indication that I can think of that the Clinton era in American politics is over, right?

KING: Right.

SHEAR: The fact that somebody like this can write a book like this with seemingly no fear of any sort of political reprisal, right? And you know, suggests that now after almost, what, three decades of dominance that the Clintons are completely to the sideline now, and that we're moving on. It may not be to Joe Biden, but -- but we're moving on.

KING: I have been in touch with Donna for the last five, six days about this. She's getting a lot of blowback.

HENDERSON: Yes.

KING: She's getting a lot of blowback. But, one of the points -- one of the points -- you make a point about the future, the future of the party. Some Democrats say Bernie Sanders was an independent, why is he getting all of this attention? Why does he get all this sympathy? He tried to take over our party. He wouldn't even switch and become a member of our party.

You know, the Clintons have supported the party for 25 years. So you have the Clinton versus them, if you will. But it puts everybody on the spot.

Listen to Senator Elizabeth Warren, who drew a lot of heat from progressives. Remember, she never endorsed Bernie Sanders back during the primaries. A lot of Bernie Sanders supporters thought if she had jumped in and helped him, she could have made the difference.

On with Jake Tapper the other day, asked the simple question.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Very quickly, Senator -- do you agree with the notion that it was rigged? SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: I mean, we say already, and it's great theater, but this the dividing line. And it's not just Donna Brazile.

You pick up the "New Yorker", read the story this week about the Democratic Party. Look at the Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg, who started with the Clintons. Now he scorned on how Hillary Clinton ran her campaign. Says the same thing is happening in Virginia which has a big election on Tuesday. This is a party that is --

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And I think people have been rightly focused on the Republican Party, and the individual in the Oval Office who gives plenty of reasons, often in 140 characters, to focus on him and the Republican Party on a daily basis -- speeches on the senate floor.

The Democratic Party is in a very bad place right now, just in the sense of there is no unity going forward. There are still, as Mike points out, just the stark divisions post-2016.

And people -- I'm not saying this is what Senator Warren was trying to do, but I get this all of the time on Capitol Hill -- Democrats trying to figure out how to position themselves going forward.

[08:35:03] What is our party? Who are the leaders of our party? What are the issues that our party should be pursuing? Where is the grassroots? Where is the money? How do these things come together?

By the way, the grassroots produced a ton of money for Bernie Sanders. So do we need the establishment issues going forward?

These are all huge things that they just haven't figured out yet. And I'm not sure what the unifying moment will be if it exists, if there is a tipping point.

But one of the interesting elements here is the DNC, the party apparatus, the things that often served as kind of the focal point of -- ok, this is what we're going to decide on policy wise, this is what we're going to decide on politically wise -- that has been just obliterated.

And that's not a new thing -- it's not because of 2016. The party committee -- particularly on the Democratic side, has been in a bad way for a number of years now throughout the end of the Obama administration.

But watching this all kind of fall apart with there being no central clearinghouse for Democratic ideas or the future of the Democratic Party just underscores kind of Mike's point which is they have a huge election now in three days. This is all coming out in the middle of that.

I don't know if this bleeds into that in a major way, but it just underscores the fact that neither party is really in a great unified place right now.

HENDERSON: Yay.

MARY KATHARINE HAM, "THE FEDERALIST": I think the central truth of American politics right now is that the national GOP is pretty bad at doing things, and the national Democratic Party keeps losing to them. And that's what Democrats are trying to figure out.

And so some of this is selling books and some of this is selling your own narrative about how a failed campaign went down. That's always a part of this.

But I think that she's a person with standing who is offering the Democratic Party a cleansing Clinton fire. Like, let's be done with this. Let's send the signal that we're done with this.

And I think the note from the staffers of Clinton is a perfect example. Just calling a video that exists that people saw that was a real news story and of real concern to actual voters, Russian propaganda, is not a response that fixes the problem. And I think that's a pattern that you see and it's a pattern that you saw on that campaign and one of the reasons it didn't work.

KING: It's about what you need usually in these things are wins in elections or a new leader to at least push the debate behind you and until they have that, they're going to have this debate.

Up next, the Republicans finally roll out details of their big new tax cut. And of course, the fighting begins.

[08:37:09] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: As Republicans debate their new big tax cut plan, the President says it's a way to take a good economy and turn it into a gangbusters economy. The numbers for the President are pretty good especially if you looked just at the last week.

We've got the unemployment report on Friday -- a 17-year low, 4.1 percent. That's bragging rights for any president of the United States.

Now the President says jobs are booming back under his administration. Not so much so far. Not a bad record for the President. But he's about the same.

We account for the hurricanes last month where the President -- this economy took a hit. The President has done about the same job growth has as the same months under President Obama last year. So not a giant boom yet, but still respectable job growth.

Here's one of the things that the President loves. He says, look, we keep setting records on Wall Street. That's a fact. The markets do help the President.

But the American people -- not giving the President a lot of credit for this yet. His overall job approval rating, 38 percent, down from 44 percent back in February. That's an anemic number for any president. Even on the economy -- 42 percent approve, 37 percent disapprove.

This is better than his overall approval number. But still, not what you expect with record low unemployment, with what the President says is jobs. The President says the key now is pass my tax cut plan and we'll come back big.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The stock market is at an all-time high. Unemployment back in the United States is at a 17- year low. Almost two million jobs have been added since a very, very special day -- it's called Election Day, November 8th.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: He traces everything back -- everything back to that very special day. Look, any president gets bragging rights when the economy is doing well.

My question, Phil Mattingly -- is can he take this moment and convince Republicans we're in a good shape, but we haven't had a great year. Let's get tax cuts, get the economy going even more. They say it will be a boom. And then help me and help the party.

MATTINGLY: Look, there's an opening there, right, because while all the economic numbers look great, wage growth has remained very steadily in a kind of moribund (ph) place right now even in the latest jobs report which is a positive jobs report.

And so that's the area, if you want to hit on and say, look, if you haven't seen a major difference in your wages in the course of the last 10 years, 15 years, 20 years which is absolutely borne out by economic data, this is the way to do that. This is the way to juice that.

The big question is, is this the plan to actually do that? And that's the issue they're run running into right now. If you look at how it's structured right now, if you want to look at where the cuts actually happen, spend a trillion dollars on the corporate side, $300 billion on the individual side, you might say well, that looks a little bit skewed there.

But in the Republican economy theory, wage growth will come when the corporate side is doing a lot better right now. Their ability to sell the fact that they need more on the corporate side to help boost your wages and that what you're doing on the individual side is directed mostly at middle class voters or at least in a way that is effective enough for those in the middle class will determine whether or not this plan moves forward. There's a reason tax reform hasn't been done in 31 years.

KING: Let's look at the breakdown depending on where you are on the income scale. And as we show you these numbers, you can take a peek at whether you're low income, middle income or higher income. We want to make it clear, these are averages.

We also want to make it very clear to you, these are averages. So if you live in a high tax state your situation might be a little different. If you live in a lower tax state, it might be a little bit better.

I hope we have the graphic we can show you. Here we go. If you make $25,000 a year, you're going to save about 0.7 percent of your taxes -- that's a little under $200 in your pocket. Middle income, about $2,000 more in your pocket. Higher income people over $175,000 -- more than $4,000 extra. Again these are averages.

If you live in Nebraska, you're difference and you have the same income as somebody who lives in New Jersey or New York, it's a little different because of the hard part, selling the state and local tax deductions they still have to sell.

But we have a proposal. We also have memories of the Obamacare debate, where every step along the way, things got more complicated.

[08:44:57] HAM: Yes, and I think this will face some of the same problems. Having that negotiation and losing some on the right, while trying to gain some.

I think there are some decent signs. There's a red state -- Trump state Democrats up for re-election who have signaled, like I'm open to talking about this. There are the high tax folks who came out of the briefing about this about the property tax deduction being capped, which they're concerned about. And they were not enraged about it which is better than it could have been.

And, look, tax reform is complex, which I think is what we ran into when we were looking through health care. But I think it's the more fair and productive route, but that doesn't mean it's the one that gets through Congress. The one that gets through congress might just be cut, cut, cut.

KING: But can the deal-making president, the guy who won the election saying I'm the deal-maker. I'll get the stupid people in Washington to get along, can he end his first year in office without this?

HENDERSON: He can. You know, I mean, you sort of see them saying, maybe it will be pushed into 2018. In some ways you wonder if Republicans --

KING: During an election year, it would be really easy.

HENDERSON: Right. I mean, you imagine at this point Republicans might be glad that he's overseas. He was first 12 days, now it's 13 days. They might be trying to convince him to make it 14 or 15 days so he's not sort of in the middle of this.

I do think the question is sort of how do you sell this? It doesn't really sound like a populist plan, right. I mean Donald Trump ran as somebody who in some ways was going to stick it to the rich and the hedge fund managers are making too much money and all they do is move money around.

It's only Republican plan. But this idea that if you give corporations tax cuts that they're going to somehow trickle down to average workers, I mean, I think a lot of average people might find that hard to believe especially given that corporations are already doing really well. I mean they've had record-setting profits over these last years, and the stock market shows that. So that sort of sales pitch.

And if you can really have Trump voters sort of emotionally attached to this, I think that's a big question.

KING: They don't want him around, because of the Obamacare memories. But they're going to need him in the end.

HENDERSON: Yes.

KING: If they're going to get a deal, they're going to need him to sell it to the country and not say it's mean, for example. It works for everybody.

Hang tight. Our reporters share from their notebooks next including why the country is watching not just Virginia but also Maine this Tuesday. Yes, it's Election Day.

[08:47:10] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Nia-Malika Henderson.

HENDERSON: Tuesday is Election Day -- a lot of focus on those big governors' races. Also people should pay attention to Maine -- a referendum on the ballot there on whether or not to expand Medicaid.

Governor Paul Lepage has vetoed that attempt by the legislature to expand Medicaid five times. He says it's too expensive. He likens it to welfare.

Proponents of expanding Medicaid say it would help rural hospitals. It would help rural residents. It would bring jobs. It will be very interesting to see what happens with that.

Two states probably looking at this in particular -- activists in Utah and Idaho also, trying to put expanding Medicaid on the ballot in 2018. I think those activists there as well as other folks will be looking to see what this means for where Obamacare stands and what people think about Medicaid expansion in these states that haven't done it yet.

KING: Latest wrinkle in the debate that will never end.

Michael. SHEAR: So lost amid some of the big news of last week, the Russian news and other things, was a meeting between the President and Senate Republicans in which they talked about DACA -- the program that President Obama had put in place to protect these young immigrants who had been brought here as children.

The Republicans came out afterwards, said they had decided with the President not to do anything about the DACA program, which President Trump has officially ended and is going to phase out next year and that they won't do anything about that at the end of this year during all of the budget negotiations.

Though I will tell you that I talked to a very senior Democratic senator last week who said he thinks that's largely posturing and that there's still a possibility that the President who has expressed some interest in doing something for these kids. And the two parties in Congress might still be able to work something out at the end of the year. So we'll see.

KING: One of the many things to watch in the year-end spending bonanza bill.

Phil.

MATTINGLY: Republicans in their most candid moments look on to the legislative score card is a tad bit lacking so far in the first 10 months of this year. But if you paid close attention to the Senate floor last week, you saw one area where they are doing well. They slammed through four circuit court judges in a single week -- that brings it to eight that they have done so far.

President Obama in 2009 had only done three. There are still two dozen other openings waiting for them.

And next week they also have several agency-level, very prominent, very kind of complicated nominations that they're going to push through. Mitch McConnell is very keen on reminding everybody that the Senate is also in the personnel business here.

If you look at the legislative failures where there are areas that they've done well in -- remaking the courts, no question about it; and on the agency side, rule making. If you want a conservative imprint to last not just for a couple of years but for decades, that's where you do it.

They failed on the legislative side at least so far; on the side of personnel, doing pretty well.

KING: They are doing -- for 10 years from now, 15, 20 years -- in a lot of stories we'll say Trump-appointed judge. This is a legacy that matters.

Mary.

HAM: So news broke last night that Senator Rand Paul was assaulted in his yard in Kentucky. The alleged assailant is a neighbor -- the motivation is unclear. But it's worth pointing out that this is the second violent attack on Paul himself this year. The earlier one, the congressional baseball shooting attempted assassination that left Steve Scalise injured, who is now back in Congress.

So a quick shout out to those who keep the democratic process safe, congressional security is running down more threats than usual and researching them. And as we have a big election day on Tuesday, everybody stay safe out there.

KING: Mary Katharine -- thanks.

I'll close with this -- more on the raw anger being directed now at Donna Brazile, much of it from people who called her a friend for years. Brazile is a rare breed, a one-time Jesse Jackson insurgent who became part of the Democratic establishment.

She has a history of helping to bridge divides in the Democratic Party. Now she's blowing the debate over Hillary Clinton and the 2016 campaign wide open.

[08:54:59] Friends call it disloyal and harmful. Many say she's twisting the facts. All say the timing is horrible with a big election Tuesday in Virginia and a big broader tug of war over the Democrats' direction.

Now a lot of this is about 2016 bad blood. Some of it is about grudges and grievances built up over 25 years of the Clintons dominating Democratic politics.

Brazile acknowledges the fierce blowback from Clinton allies, but she isn't backing down. In one of many exchanges in recent days, one of them ended with this. "Read the book. After what the country went through, I'm not afraid."

Fascinating story. We'll keep an eye on that.

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. Again, thanks for sharing your Sunday morning. Hope you can catch us weekdays. We're here at noon Eastern.

Up next, the House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi joins "STATE OF THE UNION WITH JAKE TAPPER". Have a great Sunday.

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