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Judge Blocks Trump's Efforts to End DREAMers Program; Trump Holds Bipartisan Meeting about Immigration Issues. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired January 10, 2018 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A federal judge temporarily blocking the president's efforts to end DACA.
[05:59:32] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A solution will not be found by either a judge or a president.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we do DACA, you're not so far away from comprehensive immigration reform. I'll take the heat. I don't care.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: It seems as though the president understands that the physical wall across the entire border doesn't work.
TRUMP: I'd love not to build a wall, but you need the wall.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not clear at all where he really stands.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Mr. President, you need to close the deal.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Dianne Feinstein decided to release this Fusion GPS transcript.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Simpson pushed back against GOP arguments that the dossier was directed by Democrats.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In some ways, this is the signal of the end of bipartisan cooperation.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: But I wanted to read it. We're talking about the Fusion transcript.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Hundreds and hundreds of pages. How long it took to read it.
CUOMO: Three hundred and twelve, 320 pages.
CUOMO: I had to read it, though, because you get such a sense. First of all, if you want an opinion on that issue, you'd better read the whole transcript. But it really told us so much about what was going through the minds of the committee people, what's fact and what's just feeling.
So welcome to you, our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is your NEW DAY. It's Wednesday, January 10, 6 a.m. here in New York. And we begin our starting line with breaking news.
A federal judge in California temporarily blocking the Trump administration's efforts to end DACA, the policy, of course, protecting hundreds of thousands of DREAMers, people brought here as children illegally. The question is, how will this injunction affect negotiations today on Capitol Hill?
The timing of the ruling coincides with this TV sensation of sausage making. Did you see this hour-long meeting of both sides and the president in the White House, candidly bringing up what matters to them on immigration? Trump seemed to change on the wall and on what he wants. But the GOP clearly not willing to help DREAMers if they get nothing back.
CAMEROTA: Cannot wait to talk to our guests about all of that.
Meanwhile, the Trump White House may be facing another staffing exodus. Aides are being told to make a decision before the end of this month about whether they intend to stay through the midterm elections. CNN learning that two senior officials may be on the potential departure list.
And the feud over that infamous Trump-Russia dossier is intensifying after Senator Dianne Feinstein releases the transcript of that interview with the head of the firm who was behind it. So do these 312 pages, do they undermine the effort by Republicans to discredit the dossier author?
We're going to discuss all of that, and we have it all covered. Let's begin with Joe Johns live at the White House with our top story -- Joe.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn.
That surprise nationwide injunction adding a level of uncertainty to the complicated battle over the DREAMers. And it came after an almost baffling performance on live TV by a president who staked much of his campaign on tough, almost angry anti-immigration rhetoric, now starting to sound more accommodating to the idea of comprehensive immigration reform.
JOHNS (voice-over): A federal judge blocking the Trump administration's decision to end the DREAMers program on March 5, ruling that protections must remain in place while pending legal challenges proceed and ordering the government to resume taking renewal applications.
The Justice Department responding that the ruling does not change its position that the Obama-era program is unlawful, asserting that it will continue to defend its position in further litigation.
The late-night court surprise coming hours after the remarkable televised meeting between President Trump and bipartisan lawmakers over a potential deal for the DREAMers.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This should be a bipartisan bill. This should be a bill of love. Truly should be a bill of love.
JOHNS: President Trump suggesting a compassionate solution, suggesting flexibility.
TRUMP: I think my positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with.
JOHNS: Mr. Trump also signaling an openness to pursuing a larger immigration deal.
TRUMP: If we do this properly, DACA, you're not so far away from comprehensive immigration reform. And if you want to take it that further step, I'll take the heat. I don't care. I don't care. I'll take all the heat you want to give me. And I'll take the heat off both the Democrats and the Republicans.
JOHNS: At times, the president appearing to contradict himself, insisting that border security must be part of any agreement but also suggesting he is open to a clean DACA bill.
TRUMP: I have no problem. I think that's basically what Dick (ph) is saying. We're going to come up with DACA. We're going to do DACA, and then we can start immediately on the phase two, which would be comprehensive.
JOHNS: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy interjecting this.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), MAJORITY LEADER: Mr. President, you need to be clear, though. I think what Senator Feinstein's asking here, when we talk about just DACA, we don't want to be back here two years later. You have to have security.
JOHNS: It was unclear if border security meant a wall. The White House offering little clarity.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: What has to be part of a deal in order for these DREAMers to have protection.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Border security does have to be part of this process. Andrew...
ACOSTA: But you understand how the wall could be different than border security, Sarah. Border security can be...
SANDERS: No. Actually, I don't. No.
ACOSTA: Border security could mean agents; it could mean more fencing. It doesn't necessarily mean a physical wall that the president...
SANDERS: That is part of the negotiation we expect Congress to have.
[06:05:02] JOHNS: Mr. Trump later tweeting that a wall must be part of any DACA approval.
JOHNS: The president's televised meeting yesterday was clearly an attempt to put to rest questions about his leadership. A source calling it an effort to seize the megaphone.
Now, today we expect to see the president at a joint news conference with the prime minister of Norway. It will be his first news conference with all the news media, quite frankly, since about November.
Chris and Alisyn, back to you.
CUOMO: There's plenty to talk about. Joe Johns, thank you very much.
Joining us now, CNN chief analyst Jeffrey Toobin and CNN political analyst John Avlon. Before we dig into the dazzling spectacle that we saw yesterday of sausage making, the ruling. Jeffrey Toobin, a California federal judge saying that what the administration has done is wrong with ending DACA the way it did. That they must continue to process applications of current DREAMers. Legal impact, practical impact.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, certainly, this is a victory for the DREAMers. The -- the uncertainty, though, is how long and what exactly it will mean for them in the short or long term.
This is a decision, obviously, that the Trump administration objects to. They have said they're going to pursue their legal options. Presumably that means an appeal.
So the DREAMers are safe for now, but it is still true that Congress has to settle this issue. That if the DREAMers are going to have any sort of long-term security, it's not going to come from the courts. It's going to have to come from Congress in a bill that would be signed by the president.
So this may allow Congress to kick the can down the road a little bit. But I mean, you could be talking about a matter of weeks until this ruling is overturned. So the heat still is on Congress and the president to reach a deal on DACA.
CAMEROTA: So they started that process, and we saw it in that remarkable moment. You know, normally, as it's been pointed out, we normally just see a spray of what's happening. Here are the players in the room. No, President Trump said, "Hey, you guys can stay," the media. And
then we watched the actual negotiations. I mean, just yesterday when we were on the show, we were like, you know, this -- nothing really will happen in this meeting. Oh, no. They actually took the opportunity to express themselves and to sort of fight it out. So...?
JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And that was great. It is great for people to be able to see the, as Chris calls it, the sausage- making spectacle. Because it's about civics. And clearly, the president's self-interest is showing that he's in command, that he can oversee a negotiation, that long-promised art of the deal. It wasn't always the most coherent, comprehensive policy debate, but it was real give and take. And that's a step forward for this president and this Congress.
CUOMO: Look, kudos to him.
CUOMO: He should be called out when he does something that's objectionable, applauded when he gets people together. He did that by definition yesterday. Let's see what came out of it, because now it starts to get messy again.
Let's put up some of the priorities. All right? Border security, chain migration, the visa lottery, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. DACA is the last one. All right.
Jeffrey Toobin, as we remember, chain migration and the lottery were already chewed on by the Gang of Eight. They had general consensus on those. So it sealed to me that the big thing that was left nowhere yesterday is how we will help the DREAMers. Will you do it as a stand-alone, or must it be connected to other security measures that the GOP wants, including this now unknown definition of a wall?
TOOBIN: Well, and your question is one that the president appeared to be on both sides of...
TOOBIN: ... in that long meeting. That's what was so confusing about it, is that the Democrats -- you know, their priority by far is DACA. They want protection for these 700,000, 800,000 DREAMers for good. They want these people safe. If not with actual citizenship, then with essentially the equivalent of green cards. And they want just a deal on DACA, period.
At one point the president said, "OK, let's just do a deal on DACA, and we'll deal with other stuff later."
TOOBIN: In his tweet after the meeting, he said, "No, no, no. There can't be a deal just on DACA. It has to include border security," which presumably, although not certainly, includes the wall. It's whatever the wall turns out to be. CAMEROTA: John, before I let you respond, let's just watch this
moment. I mean, Joe Johns played a little bit of it, but let's just watch the whole moment. Because the president, I mean, one of the things that people have said about him is that he's not doctrinaire, obviously, about policy. But this shows kind of how malleable he is, much to the Republicans', as you'll see, anxiety. So watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: I would like to ask the question about what a clean DACA bill now and with a commitment that we go into a comprehensive immigration reform procedure?
TRUMP: I think that's basically what Dick (ph) is saying. We're going to come out with DACA. We're going to do DACA. And then we can start immediately on the phase two, which would be comprehensive. I would like that.
MCCARTHY: Mr. President, you need to be clear, though, I think what senator Feinstein is asking, when you talk about just DACA, we don't want to be back here two years later. You have to have security, as the secretary would tell you.
TRUMP: I think that's what she's saying.
MCCARTHY: No, I think she's saying something different.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Fascinating moment, right?
AVLON: It was amazing, because Feinstein offers up the Democratic position. Let's do DACA now, and then we'll take care of everything else. And the president seems to agree, and then Kevin McCarthy says, "Whoa, whoa, whoa. Just so we're clear, that's totally not our position, right, Mr. President?" And they cleaned it up with a tweet after.
Look, I think there is the opportunity for comprehensive, because there actually seems to be some personal will to get DACA done. But if it's combined with -- with border security, and that's the key, as Jeff Toobin pointed out. Not just the president cleaning it up with the tweet.
But for Democrats, what's the difference between border security and a border wall? As Jeff Flake said after the meeting, maybe they can compromise on the definition of the wall. And it's 700 miles, let's say, and the rest is border security. Is that a comprehensive plan that Democrats could buy?
Their political head has been strengthened by this court ruling overnight, the Democrats. And the president has the opportunity to be a Nixon in China on immigration reform. It's unlikely, it seems. So the stars may be aligned and there is a deadline for DACA, you know, and the DREAMers in March. CUOMO: Well, that's the problem, though. Because even though there
is a date certain that they'll say it will end, and there are problems every day. Because as these application for renewal have been coming up, they haven't been processing them. The court said you can't do that. We'll see if they comply with just an appeal.
But this question of the wall, we can't just run past it. You know, this is -- was a big deal for us last night with Anthony Scaramucci. There are positions in their policies, OK? And it seemed very clear during the campaign to us this was a major distinguishing feature for candidate Trump.
CUOMO: Oh, no. Alisyn is saying that a wall means a little bit of this and a little -- not me. Full China, baby. A big wall...
CAMEROTA: Bridge and water.
CUOMO: ... beautiful with the door and the brick and the thing. And I know how to build it. Everywhere. And then yesterday it seemed to fall away, Jeffrey. Let's play some sound.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: That doesn't mean 2,000 miles of wall, because you just don't need that because of nature, because of mountains and rivers and lots of other things. But we need a certain portion of that border to have the wall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: This is what he had been told by people since he got in the game, Jeffrey. Stop saying just wall. I know it sounds good. I know the base now believes that you're somehow more protective than anybody else. But it's just not rational. Now he adopts it like he's the first one to think of it.
TOOBIN: Well, and, I mean, remember, you didn't have to go to many Donald Trump rallies to hear who was going to pay for the wall?
TOOBIN: Remember, it was such a familiar position that he would have his audience chant out the words "Mexico." Everybody knew it. They didn't have to have Trump himself say it. That's completely gone. That's forgotten. It was absurd when he said it.
But it certainly was as clear a campaign process as any presidential candidate has ever made. But that's gone. And now the wall appears to be a considerably smaller thing. Well, other -- the question I have about a lot of this is not so much will the Democrats go along, but will the Republicans?
AVLON: Sure. Oh, yes.
TOOBIN: And the answer to that is I don't know.
CAMEROTA: Well, you heard from Ann Coulter, that wing of the sort of right wing, saying that they're not happy unless it's, you know, as tall a wall -- I don't know how she spelled it out, but she's not happy with this wishy-washy thing.
CUOMO: They don't like DACA at all. We had Rick Santorum on last night. He is also representative of that wing. They said no DACA. You come here illegally, you go. So he's got some work to do.
AVLON: Let's see some constructive compromise. Let's see if they're capable of it. Let's see if the president can deliver on the art of the deal and bringing people together. And everybody is going to have to get a little bit. The far right will be unhappy. The far left will be unhappy. And that's the way democracy works. And that's not a bad thing.
Republicans feel burdened from the 1986 agreement. Because they felt the security never happened. The enforcement never happened. So let's see if Lindsey -- here's where Lindsey Graham can really leverage his partnership with the president.
CUOMO: The biggest thing the president might have said yesterday politically was he said, "I'll take the heat. I'll take the heat off Republicans. I'll take the heat off Democrats. Let it all come on me if people don't like what we do." We have never seen him follow through on that behavior before. There's a first for everything.
CAMEROTA: Jeffrey Toobin, John Avlon, thank you very much.
CUOMO: Senator Dianne Feinstein angering her Republican colleagues because she released the full testimony of Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, and boy, did she do you a favor. Because you read this transcript, you will see what's been going on in that committee, and you decide for yourself if this is about getting to the bottom of what Russia did or settling a political score, next.
[06:18:47] CUOMO: Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein ignored her Republican colleagues. There was division about whether or not to release 312 pages of testimony by the co-founder of the research firm Fusion GPS. They were responsible for the Trump-Russia dossier.
CNN's Manu Raju live in Washington with more. What's the fall-out?
RAJU: Well, Chris, Senator Feinstein released that transcript despite the furious objections of the Republican chairman, Chuck Grassley, who warned it would undermine the investigation.
Now, in that August interview, Glenn Simpson says his firm hired the British spy, Christopher Steele, to examine Trump's past, including why he did business in Moscow. Well, according to Simpson, Steele was so alarmed that he felt obligated to alert the FBI in the summer of 2016. Now, Simpson said this in the transcript, Chris said that he was very
concerned about whether this represented a national security threat and said he thought we were obligated to just tell someone in the government, in our government about this information.
He thought from his perspective there was an issue, a national security issue about whether a presidential candidate was being blackmailed.
Now, in addition to this, Simpson also testified that Steele told him the FBI had similar intelligence from an internal Trump campaign source to help back up the dossier.
And we now know from our own sources that that was a reference to information passed onto the FBI about the former campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, who since then, has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia during the campaign.
Now, senators on the committee, including Democrat Chris Coons, said the decision by Feinstein to release the transcript shows that this investigation is at a partisan impasse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHRIS COONS (D), MARYLAND: I think it's really unfortunate that the majority and minority on the Judiciary Committee have really come to an impasse in terms of being able to make progress. I think in some ways this is the signal of the end of bipartisan cooperation in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: Now Simpson also would not reveal who Steele's sources were, with Simpson's attorney even saying that one of the Russian sources had been killed. And we now know from our own sources that that comment was in reference to the string of debts of high-profile Russians in the aftermath of the 2016 elections.
Now, this all comes as Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, announced plans to sue both Fusion GPS and the news organization BuzzFeed for publishing the dossier last year over his concerns over defamation. Because he says the allegation against him in the dossier are just wrong -- are just wrong, Chris and Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: OK. Manu, thank you very much for explaining all the details to us.
Let's bring back John Avlon. And joining us, reporter and editor at large for CNN Politics, Chris Cillizza. Great to have both of you here in studio.
OK, so now that we know that Christopher Steele, who compiled the dossier, that his motivation was that he felt, for doing it -- or after he got the information, for going to the FBI, was that he was worried that Donald Trump was being blackmailed. Does this change the Republican narrative, certainly Donald Trump's
narrative, that this was all sort of a Democratic plan, implying that they were the ones colluding with Russia?
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT AND EDITOR AT LARGE: Breaking news, no. Because Donald Trump will always come back to the fact that the Christopher Steele dossier was funded, in part, by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. We know that. That doesn't change.
Now, a lot of other things he says that are not true, which include the fact, and Glenn Simpson testified to this, that the dossier -- I think a lot of people think the dossier is the reason why we have a special counsel. That is not true. Yes, the FBI has confirmed some of these things. But we know that this investigation is not due solely to the dossier.
I did think, however, Alisyn, that Glenn Simpson referred to Steele as this is like calling 911 when you drive by an accident. His sort of motivation.
CAMEROTA: He's a whistleblower.
CAMEROTA: He sees him as a whistleblower.
CILLIZZA: And I thought it's compelling. It won't change Donald Trump's line on it because of the funding. But I would urge people to sort of -- you're not going to read all the testimony. But read at least coverage.
CUOMO: But no, hold on a second. One, I love you. I disagree.
If you want to have an opinion about this, if you care enough, you think it's as important as it actually is, read the transcript. It is everything you need to know, especially this. Senator Chris Coons, again, I'm sorry to say...
CAMEROTA: I know.
CUOMO: He is right. He is right. The bipartisan nature of this thing...
CUOMO: ... has to be over. And here's why.
You read that transcript, the questioning of Glenn Simpson has so little to do with, "Hey, what did you figure out and how did you figure it out and what do you know about these Russians? And you're supposedly an expert. So could you help us understand?" None of that. It was only in passing.
It was "Who do you work for? Where do you get your money? Do you always work with the media like this? Are you working for the Russians? And let me ask you things about Christopher Steele. Was he working with the FBI?" Any kind of conspiracy that they could thread into it. And Simpson just shot at them like a cheap carnival trick. But it shows what that committee is about, at least for the GOP.
AVLON: And I think this is a larger part of the problem about what a lot of these investigations are about. It's a fixation on process not substance. And a partisan approach to the process, which is what you're saying.
This -- Simpson is saying, is first of all, you'll still see it was originally funded by Republicans, then picked up by Democrats, which is when Steele came. The mandate was to simply find information, not a particular agenda. And what Steele found was so concerning that he reaches out to the FBI, because he's concerned about a national security issue. This is something out of a spy novel that a presidential candidate is being black mailed by a hostile foreign power.
Right. OK. Fixating on the process of this, that information is interesting. It's not remotely sufficient or evidence of people being concerned about the real issue, which is did Russia try to influence our elections? Did they compromise...
CAMEROTA: It's not -- I'm so glad you're pointing that out. Because that's -- the mind-blowing part is that somebody who had sources on the inside in Russia believed that Donald Trump had been compromised from what he had learned from his sources.
CILLIZZA: Agreed. And by the way, let's also note that there are things that are not up for debate here. There's the -- with the exception of Donald Trump, the entire U.S. intelligence apparatus has said unanimously, yes, Russia not only interfered in this election but did so to help Donald Trump and to hurt Hillary Clinton.
[06:25:12] CILLIZZA: That is not a -- I mean, can you debate it? No. It's not a debate. It's not a debate. Like everyone says one -- everyone in a position to know says one thing. Donald Trump says the other. And that's...
AVLON: When one person with self-interest...
AVLON: ... dissents from the entire intelligence apparatus, let's just say that's not an...
CUOMO: OK. So let's file it under now we know. You read this transcript. You'll say now you know what they want to get to on the Republican side in this committee. And that's why Senator Chris Coons is saying, "We're at an impasse." They want to go after Steele, Lindsey Graham, you want Christopher Steele part of a criminal investigation after sitting and understanding his testimony that way, has to be political.
AVLON: He's trying to curry favor, Chris.
CUOMO: To get his point. You heard him in the meeting yesterday. Let's go back to that meeting. What a TV extravaganza. It is an opportunity you don't usually get. People were candid. You had both sides. You had the president and his alleged deal-making prowess on display. Here's another little taste of a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When this group comes back, hopefully with an agreement, this group and others from the Senate, from the House, comes back with an agreement, I'm signing it. I mean, I will be signing it. I'm not going to say, "Oh, gee, I want this, or I want that. I'll be signing it," because I have a lot of confidence in the people in this room that you will come up with something really good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Now one, Chris Cillizza, this is opposite world from how McConnell entered into this situation. It was, say look, we can't really negotiate in good faith. I don't know what he really wants. All that really matters to him. So there he flips the coin.
And it also gets us to the other point of confusion for Democrats, they came out of there thinking "Why are you asking me whether or not I'll fund the wall? I don't know what the wall is."
If he wants it to be the security that's necessary in different areas, fences, sensors, well, I already tried to fund that. We're OK with that. He keeps saying it's something else. And he did it in the tweet right after. Where are we left?
CILLIZZA: I mean, pass.
CILLIZZA: You use the 55 minutes, sort of amazing. It was sort of an amazing spectacle. I don't know where we're left with, because there's a point in there where he says about -- he seems to agree with Dianne Feinstein. Well, yes, let's just fund DACA without the security and wall.
So I think as Kevin McCarthy steps in and said, well, Mr. President. So what's really difficult here is that I think the most revealing thing he said was at the end where he says, "My views are going to be the views of the people in this room."
Because for all the focus on the wall, that was a political thing that he happened into that, yes, oh, people like the wall. OK, we're going to say more about it. He lacks any cohesive set of views on this and, frankly, most things. So he is very flexible. But I would not take that -- that pledge, "I'll sign whatever you bring." I would not take that to the bank.
CAMEROTA: But hold on. I want to talk about style over substance if you will indulge me. CUOMO: Please do.
CAMEROTA: That moment, so forget about if the wall comes out or if it's 700 miles or whatever. That moment is why people voted for President Trump. They wanted him to shake up the establishment and they wanted him to do something refreshing. And so he did it.
In other words, we're all so used to nothing happening in those meetings. That's what we were predicting. And then he -- it looks like the spur of the moment. Because the lawmakers didn't know around the table what he was going to do. He says to the cameras, "You know what? Why don't you guys stay?" And for the next hour, we get to see, fly on the wall, these people negotiating. That's what people hoped President Trump was going to do when he got to...
AVLON: I think that's totally fair. It's a glimpse of what the Trump presidency could be, someone who throws out the old script, someone who's committed to the art of the deal, who's not wedded to partisan positions or policy, per se. I think the down side is there's not policy mastery. There's a sense of...
CUOMO: Alisyn brought up style. And there's good context for that, which is was this a demonstration that he is fit for office?
CAMEROTA: That's it.
CUOMO: And he is perhaps a stable genius?
CILLIZZA: There's no question that that is the reason that this was done. No, that doesn't take away -- I'm with Alisyn. Kudos to the president for having a 55-minute public meeting with the top congressional leaders. But that is why...
CAMEROTA: If his goal was to quiet all the conversation about fitness, did that show him being sort of in command, not using strange bizarre syntax, and you know, being focused?
AVLON: The bar is historically low. You know, you shouldn't be trying to simply show that the president can string together sentences coherently in order to pass muster.
However, it was a great thing for the administration and the president to do, to show what he is capable of and to show some delivery on the promise that he could shake things up and focus on a deal.
CUOMO: And there was something in it for everybody. You know, these people who are in the -- "his brain is broke" camp. You know, he comported himself as a president should in that situation. He brought him together. He did that nice bait and switch, the TV cameras, which was a little bit of TV genius.
And now in terms of what was in it for people who want to be a critic of it, he didn't really get the clean bill stuff. He really didn't show any mastery of the issues on hand. And we'll have to see if he lives up to his pledge.